Here is a simple tip for improving your listening skills AND improving how others perceive your listening skills. It’s easy, and it costs you nothing. Ready? Here it is: LISTEN WITH YOUR EYES.
I used to get frustrated with my kids when they wouldn’t look at me when I was talking with them. I would prompt them to give me eye contact, and they would comply. But this seemed to happen regularly. Many times I’d be talking to them, and they would continue walking away, keep their eyes locked on the television or maintain eyes buried in a book.
So what’s the deal? Had these kids been raised by wolves…and rude wolves at that?
Sadly, they had been raised like that. It wasn’t easy to admit, but I’ve caught myself being just that rude when they want to talk to me when I’m not particularly interested. If it’s something I care about and want to discuss, I give eye contact easily and readily. But when it’s something that I don’t really care about, I tend to give less than 100% eye contact.
So this visual blog is brought to you (with the assistance of my friend, Jocelyn) to help you remain mindful of the message you send with the top or back of your head, side of your face…or anything that is not dead-on eye contact.
So even if your only desire is to fool people into thinking that you are listening and that you care, eye contact can help you sell that. But if you really want to improve how you listen and what you hear, your attention really does follow the direction of your eyes. Go figure!
Try this for rest of the day: Listen with your eyes as well as your ears. If you don’t feel like a better listener within 24 hours, I will return your rudeness to you free of charge. All you have to lose is your inattentiveness. Now put down your smart phone, close your newspaper, turn off the television…and LOOK AT ME WHEN I’M TALKING TO YOU! Well, not me. But you get the idea…