Movie Star Listeners

Oliver Driver is a bit of a TV and Theatre star in New Zealand. He has a great tip for us, where he says, "We are the stars of our own life's movie." We have the lead role, and our life and what happens to us is terribly important - to us.

What we have to realise is this is true of everyone we meet. We may think we are important and people will be impressed when they meet us...

BUT in that person's life we are not the star, not the lead actor. They are.

Oliver says we must treat everyone we meet as a movie star - the movie star in their own life.

Pretend that every single person you meet has a sign around his or her neck that says, “Make me feel I’m important". So how do we go about this?

The key to making people feel important is simple: just listen.

The thing about listening is, it's active. 

When you are listening, it’s true that you shouldn’t be talking - that's called interrupting (and we learned that in Kindergarten).

One of the things we often do as we are listening, is is prepare how we re going to respond, while the the other person is talking. You don't want to seem like you can't hold up your end of the conversation. 

Wrong! In Dale Carnegie’s iconic book “How to Win Friends and Influence People," we learn that people fail to make  a favourable impression because they don't listen attentively. They have been so much concerned with what they are going to say next that they do not keep their ears open.

A bonus that comes with listening well - it makes you seem more interesting. Dale Carnegie says, “To be interesting, be interested." Give people an opportunity to talk about themselves and their ideas, seem genuinely interested, and they will, consequently, like you. So, hand-in-hand with being a good listener is encouragement. 

Some Tips For Active Listening:

Be honest: If you don’t have time to truly listen, arrange to talk later.

Pay attention: Give the person your FULL attention. If you’re on the telephone, don’t multi task by reading or typing on your computer. People will hear you striking the keyboard. This will not help build a good relationship. If you get a business call on your mobile phone while you’re driving, pull over or arrange to talk later.

Acknowledge active listening: Give the speaker a response that says “YES I’m listening to you. I hear you”. Just demonstrate you are engaged.

Show active listening: Use your body language to acknowledge you hear the other person. Nod, smile, lean forward, maintain eye contact, have an open body posture, be relaxed.

Reflect on what you heard: Do this through your words, tone of voice, body position and gestures – so the other person knows he’s understood. You can paraphrase what speaker said. “My understanding of what you said is….” or  “let me see if I understand what you’ve been saying…”

Reflect feelings: When a  speaker is feeling strongly about something, their emotions are engaged. In order to really listen to the person (as opposed to just hearing their words) you need to be in touch with the feelings. Let the speaker work through the emotion before you respond. Then paraphrase the feelings and the facts to let the speaker know you’ve heard.

Don’t judge: Everyone has the right to express their opinions. You may not agree – but you should respect the other person’s right to their feeling. So don’t judge verbally, or non verbally with your body language.

Respond: Always say something, even if it’s just “I’ll get back to you.” Say what’s appropriate to the situation. Be honest, respectful. Treat the other person the way you would like to be treated.

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