How well do you listen? When speaking with others, most people want to make a point and fail to remember that communicating is always two-way. When we are e-mailing, talking on the phone, or creating presentations we must remember that there is a communications feedback loop. That feedback loop helps to ensure the communication was received and understood. If people misunderstand your message, you failed to communicate.
What do you do when you realize that you aren't being understood? You listen carefully! Listening attentively lets the communicator know you are supportive and paying attention. When involved in a conversation, don't interrupt; let the speaker know you are listening by using reinforcing body language and verbal cues.
When planning your communications, use the words of Stephen Covey, "Seek first to understand, and then be understood".
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