Communication is a two-way street - not only do you have to be able to vocalize your views, but you have to be able to listen to those of others.
Many people ‘tune out’ or refuse to listen because they don’t want to hear what you’re saying, or because they don’t like how you’re saying it. People won't listen to you if you are discussing something they're not happy with, or if you are criticizing them. No one likes to hear what they are doing wrong, but there are times that we all have to hear it.
A good communicator can overcome these barriers, by using the following techniques:
- Before you begin to talk, explain to the other person the benefits of listening.
- Using an example or metaphor which is often better received than a direct point.
- Using ‘sandwich’ feedback to deliver difficult messages (start with a positive, insert the negative, finish with a positive).
- Use the appropriate modality (e.g. ‘Can you see my point?’, ‘Can you hear what I’m saying?’ or ‘How do you feel?’ if the person is visual, auditory or kinaesthetic).