Listening seems like such a simple skill. And yet, how many of us spend entire conversations thinking about our responses instead of being fully tuned in to the person speaking? On the Nerdist podcast, Eliza Coupe from the shows Happy Endings, Scrubs, and Benched, discussed her challenges breaking this communication-based bad habit:
I’ve watched old stuff of mine and I’m like, ‘oh look, look at my wheels turning,’ instead of trying to remember my line right now. If I had actually just listened to what the other person was saying, it might cue up the line in a more organic way. And I’ve taken that into my real life, ‘Why don’t I really listen as opposed to formulating what I want to say before the person’s finished?’
The benefits to truly listening to what others have to say are obvious – you aren’t “not listening” because you don’t understand why it matters; you aren’t listening because you have an agenda. Stop. Your inability to be in the moment is hurting your agenda.
Simplify your agenda into 1-2 items. Because it will be easier to remember, you can focus on what’s being said and avoid thinking about what you need to say. This will ensure a more natural, free flowing conversation and help you sidestep those pre-mediated, canned replies.