The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, first published in 1989, is a self-help book written by Stephen R. Covey. It has sold more than 25 million copies in 38 languages worldwide, and the audio version has sold 1.5 million copies, and remains one of the best selling nonfiction business books.
The approach continues to be pertinent in every day life at work and at home. Buyers Meeting Point will be reviewing each of the Seven Habits over the next few months.
Habit 5: Seek first to Understand, then to be Understood
I will be the first to admit that it is not easy to wait your turn. We all want to explain our perspective so we can convince the others that we are RIGHT and our idea is the way to proceed. If we do let the others speak first, we often are too busy waiting for them to finish the BLAH BLAH BLAH, we don't really listen.
As Stephen Covey states:
"Communication is the most important skill in life. You spend years learning how to read and write, and years learning how to speak. But what about listening? What training have you had that enables you to listen so you really, deeply understand another human being? Probably none, right?
If you're like most people, you probably seek first to be understood; you want to get your point across. And in doing so, you may ignore the other person completely, pretend that you're listening, selectively hear only certain parts of the conversation or attentively focus on only the words being said, but miss the meaning entirely. So why does this happen? Because most people listen with the intent to reply, not to understand. You listen to yourself as you prepare in your mind what you are going to say, the questions you are going to ask, etc. You filter everything you hear through your life experiences, your frame of reference. You check what you hear against your autobiography and see how it measures up. And consequently, you decide prematurely what the other person means before he/she finishes communicating. similar situation."
The most amazing thing is that when I have slowed down to really let the other party explain their situation, IT WORKS! The conflict is resolved much easier or your idea that was SO important to share, may not even apply at all.
This approach is appropriate for both professional and personal relationships. Do you have any examples of putting Habit 5 into action? What did you find?