Communication is critical when developing mutually beneficial and mutually enjoyable relationships. Relationships require trust, and one of the best ways to develop trust is to focus on helping the other person feel heard and understood.

Remember this important distinction:

There’s a big difference between hearing—that is, simply receiving communication—and truly listening, which is the art of paying thoughtful attention with a mind toward understanding the complete message being delivered. Unlike simply hearing someone’s account, listening requires maintaining eye contact, watching the person’s body language, asking for clarification, and listening for the unspoken message

How skilled are you at truly listening as described above? Even more importantly, is your heart engaged as well as your mind? What are the obstacles you face to truly listening?

Show Sincere Interest

The path to a really fulfilling and complete life is to never try to impress others, rather build mutually beneficial relationships. Concentrate your energy on getting to know as much as you can about people, focus on trying to understand their dreams, Try to never judge anyone, rather try to understand their point of view, you can learn from anyone. Gaining an insight into their perspective may really help you in the long run. Move away from always trying to be right. When you show real interest in someone you will more easily earn their trust and ultimately may identify a mutually beneficial opportunity that serves both of you.

Questions are the gateway to beneficial relationships
Give others the opportunity to share their world with you; the new information may just be what you are looking for to help you accomplish your new goal or new success. Always be open to listen to people and try to understand their point of view. You don’t have to agree with their point of view, but the information may assist you to improve or change your own perspective for the better.

Always reflect back on what your perception of the conversation is, and what you have heard. It is always a good idea to periodically allow people to clarify what they have said. This helps people to see that you are really listening to them and that you value what they are saying.
Express Yourself

Okay, so we’ll talk about expressing yourself in a moment, but pay attention briefly to the order in which we’ve addressed the two parts of communication: listening and expressing yourself. Why do you think that order is important?

“People can’t listen until they’ve been heard…. You first need to let the other people speak about their needs and wants, hopes and dreams, fears and concerns, hurts and pains, before you talk about yours. It opens up a space inside of them to be able to listen to and take in what you have to say.”

If that key is the only thing that you get from this article, that in itself will have a huge impact on your conversations.

Get Clarity and Avoid making incorrect Assumptions?
After carefully listening to the other person and assessing their version of events, it then becomes appropriate for you to express yourself. Always try to put things into the right perspective and remove any ambiguity or confusing statements. Two different people, having experienced the same event, could have completely different views about it. Don’t assume that your view is the correct one or that you know completely what the other person’s view is. Avoid assuming that you know why they think or feel the way they do. Don’t draw conclusions about their motive or what they’ll do now.

Difficult Conversations, written by Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton and Sheila Heen, calls each person’s view a “story.” We experience events differently, because we’re telling ourselves different stories about those events. Where do the different stories come from? From the available information, we observe or notice different things. We then place different interpretations or meanings on what we observed, and we then draw different conclusions about it. Remember that each story is not more “right” than any other story. It just is.

For example, if your son consistently doesn’t do his homework and is getting an F in several subjects, the story you may tell yourself about that is, “He sure is a lazy kid. I wish he’d get his act together, because I don’t want to end up supporting him the rest of his life. If he’d just apply himself, he’d be fine.” But your son’s story may be, “I’m feeling so overwhelmed with all of this homework that I don’t understand. I know I need to deal with it, but I’m not sure where to start. And I’m afraid to ask for help because my dad will just get mad at me! He just doesn’t understand.” You’re experiencing the same thing very differently, and your stories are colliding. Unless you can sort out the stories, it will be difficult for you to proceed together to tackle the problem.

Once you have invested the time to master the art of listening, instead of always trying to be in broadcast mode. You will astound yourself at how quickly people start to warm to you. People love to feel that they have been heard and understood. This small shift will help you develop far better, trusting meaningful relationships with everyone around you. Give listening a whirl, the improvement in your relationships will be well worth the effort.

Author's Bio: 

Andrew is an expert and master teacher that speaks and teaches self-leadership, expanded awareness, effectiveness, efficiency and productivity. He guides individuals and business professionals, to identify, prioritise and carry out the right activities, consistently, so that they can maximise their personal effectiveness and deliver their best; on time, every time. All the tools and techniques Andrew teaches; have been tested in the laboratory of his own life and the many successful businesses he has owned and led, over the past 20 years. These strategies have seen Andrew achieve financial independence and reach a point of harmonious balance in all areas of his life. His purpose is to help as many people as possible, achieve similar or better results and to show them how they can realise their full potential, both personal and professionally and to help them live a meaningful life, where they are fulfilled in all areas.