We all desire connection, have innate curiosity, and feel gratitude. We can leverage these three human qualities to improve our listening skills and increase engagement.
Our innate desire for connection with others is a lever we can pull to increase our listening engagement. Thinking of how our fellow conversationalists might have similar interests or values is a means for finding out how we are connected. Sometimes the connection is strong and sometimes not so much, but with engagement we can discover just what it is.
Our thirst for knowledge and desire to learn new things is a lever for listening engagement. We don’t know what we don’t know and by listening we will likely learn a new fact or a new perspective.
We may never pass this way again, so having gratitude for those in front of us and what they are sharing is an excellent lever for listening engagement. When we are feeling that what others are saying is valuable, we are engaged. Appreciating that the other person is sharing their thoughts, experiences, and opinions will make it easier for us to stay entirely focused on what they are saying.
Leveraging human desire for connectedness, our natural inquisitiveness, and gratitude for the privilege of listening to someone, we can improve our skills of listening engagement, the emotional state of dedication and interest. This emotional engagement will be visible through our nonverbal and verbal behavior, and it will require the cognitive elements of attention and comprehension.
Listening well allows us to connect in new ways, increasing our understanding and helping us solve the challenging problems of our time. Plus, it feels good to be really heard and that is a gift we can give our coworkers, our family members, and our friends.