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Magic Words

Updated: Feb 11, 2022

“Words were originally magic and to this day words have retained much of their ancient magical powers”. Sigmund Freud 1915

The words we use and how we construct our communication influences those around us. I used to think that communication was the key until I realised comprehension is.

After all you can communicate all you want to, to someone but if they don’t understand you, it won’t reach them the way you need it to.

There are things we can do to improve our ability to influence those around us. A key factor is to be able to notice the result our words have on the listeners and are flexible enough to change them when needed. This skill is invaluable in life from communicating with your loved ones, clients, colleagues – in fact everyone.

A lot of people when “listening” are actually inside their head thinking of what to say, waiting for their opportunity to speak. I’m sure we’ve all had the experience of someone suddenly bringing a random topic up in a conversation.

Listening is one of the most important skills you can have. How well you listen has a major impact on your job effectiveness, and on the quality of your relationships with others.

Think about how much information you get every day by listening. Your boss, your colleagues, your clients, and family and loved ones communicate with you daily.

How much of what all these people say do you pay attention to? How much are you actually hearing, processing and remembering from these conversations? It's probably a lot less than you think!

People act as if they’re listening but in reality; their minds are thinking about what they are going to say in response or racing to other topics. Whilst doing this you miss what the other person is saying. These things could be incredibly important in a personal or business context.

To hear and understand what is being said around you, you need to pay attention to what is being said. You probably think this is a bit obvious, but it's the most important part of listening. For instance, make eye contact with the person talking to you. Ignore outside factors, like other conversations, so that you can focus solely on what the person is saying. Most importantly, put your own thoughts on hold. Stop planning out what you're going to say in return.

Providing feedback on what the other person has just said is another important part of listening. We all hear information through our own personal filters and judgments. This can affect our understanding. To make sure you heard and understood the message correctly, or repeat it back to the person. You can also ask questions to get more information. 

Make sure that you listen to what they're saying BEFORE you plan your response!

You also need to avoid interrupting when they are speaking. Once they're finished, you can respond appropriately with an honest answer or opinion.

The better you are at listening, the more information you'll receive. By becoming a better listener, you can improve your productivity, as well as your ability to influence, persuade and negotiate. What's more, you'll avoid conflict and misunderstandings.

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