Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Photo of Summer Rhythm Renewal participants in concert...
Learning to work well with other people is a vital skill that we need for the vast majority of jobs we do. And at the heart of working with people is the ability to communicate with them. Notice that I use the word "with." This word implies that there is more than just you in the situation. If you want to be perceived as someone who is easy to work with, someone that people like to work with, then honing your ability to communicate is vital.
Drilling down further into learning the art of communication is your ability to listen well. The very best communicators, and usually the easiest people to create things with, tend to be the best listeners. When you are truly listening to someone you are directing all of your focus and attention to the other person, fully experiencing and trying to understand what it is that this person is trying to say. This approach of listening is very different than what many of us do, which is as the other person is speaking, we are thinking about we will say next, while only hearing enough to get the gist of what is being said to us.
If you really want to know and understand what someone is trying to say to you, an effective technique that you can use is to simply re-state what the other person has just said to you and ask them, "Did I understand you correctly?" This is one of the simplest and most powerful ways to eliminate mis-communication. It's also a way to deepen your relationship with this other person because when you show this level of attention to them, it communicates the message that you truly care and that what they have to say is important to you.