Whilst this title may give away my age to some people others may find it misleading. So to clarify I mean; listen without pre-judging. There is a saying that most people listen in order to respond rather than listening to understanding and it quite neatly sums up what I mean here.
There is often a temptation to jump in with a response before someone has even finished speaking. This can particularly be the case with partners, children and family members. We assume we know them so well that without thinking and definitely without listening we finish their sentence in our head and leap straight in with the answer to what we assumed they were going to say.
Not only is this rude but we run the risk of missing important information or getting completely the wrong end of the stick.
It is much better for business and relationships to listen attentively, to watch carefully for any non-verbal messages and wait for the other person to finish speaking. Then think about what they have said, ask them to clarify points if there is any doubt in your mind, consider their perspective and only then decide on your response.
Taking the time and effort, and make no mistake it is an effort to listen properly, will vastly improve your understanding and therefore the quality of your response. Perhaps more importantly it will improve the relationship immeasurably, whether personal or professional. The sense of being heard, being listened to generates so much positive feeling that whether it’s a disagreement with your spouse or a business negotiation you will get a better result.