“Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears.”
– Mark Antony from Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare.
A lot of communication trainings will tell you that ‘lending your ears’ is akin to ‘hearing others’ rather than ‘listening to others’. It’s not quite the same level of conscious effort and thought. And many advocate “active listening” as some sort of higher level of listening. Unfortunately, many teach is as some sort of set of actions you need to do to “show others that you are listening” so that others feel like you’re listening. However, few actually understand that’s really not the point at all. Miscommunication often occurs mostly because we’re too busy with ourselves and less focused on what is actually happening around us.
Getting better at communication skills requires you to focus primarily on listening in such a way that you pay very good attention to the words people use and think about it’s use and purpose. One of the most highest examples of using listening is to help others create change in their own lives.
In NLP, recognising the basic deletions, distortions, and generalisations that people use unconsciously in the way they communicate becomes incredibly insightful and arms you with the questions to ask when people start telling you their limiting beliefs. When you begin to question and reflect the inconsistencies back at them, they will begin to realise they don’t need to stay limited and can then disable those beliefs once and for all.
The truth is that when you understand how the mind constantly filters information out, it’s a lot easier to begin improving your communication. This means that everyone is basically going to take different things from your message and the only way to ensure everyone gets your intention is to adjust your communication, asking questions and listening to how they understand you. It’s a process; one that requires you to actively improve your thinking as well as your listening.
Whenever someone asks us about having more communication training, we instead always ask instead who isn’t communicating with one another. Communication is at least a two way process and the reality is that communication isn’t something you can tick a box to say you have or don’t. It’s a skill and like all other skills, there are very basic principles for improving your communication skills.
Unlike when you acquire almost skills ‘automatically’ in your life, improving any skill requires you to become consciously aware of what you’re actually doing so that you can break it down. I’m fond of saying, “You can’t be intelligent about something thing you’re not even aware of”.
Once you know where you are, it’s easier and frankly much more efficient to then get a clear idea what your goal is or looks like. Once you know where the goal is, it’s easier to build a step-by-step pathway to improvement. Too often, people chase without even understanding what they really want.
If you can improve and get better at any skill, then it stands to reason that if you don’t make the effort to stay sharp, the skill can deteriorate and dull. Eventually, even muscle memory and neural connections you’ve made in the past won’t matter as much as the effort you need to put in to keep it as a relevant and reliable skill.
These principles apply to most skills you have learned. Become aware of the skills you’ve learned – Most notably the skills you use when you communicate with others, when you listen, try to influence or persuade. The more you become aware, the more you realise there are plenty of areas to explore and improve further.
For other useful tips and other life changing ideas, please read our other blogs and learn the #AuthenticNLP™ with NaviGo® NLP Center.