Reflect Before Offering an Improvement

The word conversation generally brings to mind talking. However, if you’ve ever seen two people trying to talk to each other at the same time, you’ll know that listening is just as important. In fact, listening is half of a successful conversation—you take turns to talk, and everyone feels heard. This is great communication.

Active listening means taking part in the conversation and working on the rapport between you and your partner. It’s made up of three parts: paraphrasing, inquiry and acknowledgement.

Often we are waiting for the gaps, or the breaks, or when we think the speaker has finished (or had enough time) so that we can inject our piece of “communication”. Often we break the sequence of discussion, or inject content of little value, or just say the same thing again. We listen to respond. We build our own ideas, not necessarily creatively building on the ideas of others. Our behaviours are less supportive and more directive. We miss messages, and opportunities. We just fail to listen. Our agenda not theirs.

When someone presents an idea, suggestion, opinion or plan, take time to reflect before offering a suggestion to improve it. Many people are in the habit of quickly adding their better idea by saying “but” or “however.” Habitually doing this undermines connection, commitment and engagement. People implement their own ideas with greater enthusiasm and energy, so consider whether your enhancement truly matters before offering it.

Summing-up: By being quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry (or offer improvements) you will be more likely to maintain connection with others.

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