Have you ever been talking to someone and then they take a call or answer a text on their phone, or look over your shoulder, seemingly uninterested in what you are saying? Have you ever been the one to glance at your phone or scan the room when there is someone sitting right across from you?
When you listen to someone with your complete attention, you show them you care about them.
When you don’t give your full attention and don’t seem to be listening, what message are you sending? If listening is caring, then not listening would be what? Answer: not caring!
Listening well means giving someone your undivided attention. Some of the basics are putting down your technology, facing the person with your body, not thinking about what you will say next while they are speaking, listening fully to their words, maintaining eye contact, and noticing the nuances of their non-verbal messages. Do they seem stressed, overjoyed, sad, angry? You should be picking these things up and engaging appropriately based on the cues you are receiving.
When you give someone your undivided attention you are showing you care in a unique and powerful way. Listening seems to be a dying art, but its value will continue to increase, and it will set you apart as a caring leader in a too-busy and sometimes seemingly uncaring world.