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Today we’re continuing on the conversation of habits. The habit I’m highlighting today is the habit of communication, the way we listen.

How we participate and listen in a conversation impacts how the other person shows up, the information they share with us, as well as the information that we take in.

So often we listen with the intent to be understood rather than listening with
the intent to understand. When we do this, it negatively impacts the conversation as well as our relationships.

The next time you’re in a conversation with someone, perhaps they’re sharing a struggle they’re having, or it could be a celebration, start with the habit of listening to understand what the other person is sharing and why they’re sharing it.

Be intentional about how you want the other person to feel, what you want the outcome of the conversation to be, as well as how you want to feel.

This goes for high-stakes business conversations, communicating with your kids, or participating in a conversation online.

If you find your mind wandering during your next conversation, pause, pivot, and intentionally pull your attention back to the conversation you’re participating in. No need to judge yourself, that just keeps you distracted.

When you listen with the intent to understand, the level of trust and collaboration will naturally increase in your relationships (personal and professional), a win-win for sure.

We’ve all been guilty of listening with the intent to be understood at times. It’s far too easy to hear a comment then let your mind run down a trail of thought, developing the “perfect” rebuttal you’re going to give. From that point on, you miss everything the person is saying.

Hard to build trust and connection, requirements for any healthy relationship, when you don’t hear fully what is being said.

Listening to be understood is a communication habit that’s easy to start, but not always so easy to stop. Being more intentional when connecting with others will help you catch when your mind wanders. The more aware and intentional, the faster the habit change, the better the conversation, the deeper the relationship.

As you lean into this new habit of listening, have some compassionate curiosity for yourself. Let go of judgment so you can approach your new habit with fresh eyes and a new perspective.

Was this helpful for you? I’d love to hear:

  • What did you try?
  • What worked for you?
  • What didn’t work?
  • What is your biggest takeaway?

Please share in a comment below so everyone can learn from it as well.