It’s that time of year when we start on our New Year’s resolutions and then proceed to break them. People are busy glancing at their Fitbits and other wearable devices as they race to their next meeting. I invite you to consider sticking with two things, active listening and reflection. We easily get caught up in the day to day management of our businesses, families, community activities, and an assortment of commitments. It’s important to take a deep breath and remember the value of simply listening and making time for reflection.
Are you struggling to understand your customers? Is your nonprofit or for profit organization not sure what direction to head in next? Do you struggle with communication with your spouse, friends, and coworkers? Do you talk too much?
Simply listen, really listen to what those around you are saying. Sit down with individuals and don’t make assumptions. Share surveys if you need the input of a larger group. Then take some time to pause, reflect, and “chew on” what you are in hearing. Be able to reflect back what you are hearing and make sure that you understand everything that those around you are sharing. One of the biggest frustrations that loved ones, employees, and clients deal with is the feeling of not being heard. A recent article in a major publication talks about someone trying to communicate and yet having the feeling of a “mute button being on.” If you are intentional about listening (rather than talking) and taking the time to reflect on what you have heard then you will accumulate a wealth of valuable information that can be used to problem solve and set a positive course for your business or relationship.