Do you think you are a good listener? Can you listen to the details of an associate’s input and not have to scratch your head after they leave as you try to retrieve what you know was important? Do the people close to you rate fairly high because they are great listeners. Have you seen that they enjoy listening and seldom interrupt you?
In this hustle-bustle world of ours, the art of listening is often lost in the rush to prepare reports, to conduct meetings, to develop new strategies, and to meet those tantalizing goals we’ve accepted as our very own. Regardless of whether our role is that of a parent or CEO, the more effectively we listen, the more smoothly and effectively things seem to flow in our lives.
In “Lions Don’t Need To Roar,” D.A. Benton discusses the importance of effective listening:
“Top people listen more than they talk, and when they listen, they really listen. They know that the only way to have an effective dialogue with someone is to listen effectively. ”
Effective listening involves more than just making eye contact or just keeping your mouth shut. As you no doubt know, you can both do that and look attentive without actually being attentive. By allowing your attention to be diverted, you not only run the risk of missing important information but you also leave a less-than-favorable impression on the person with whom you are conversing.
Here are seven of D.A. and my effective listening suggestions to foster stronger listening skills:
o Remember to pause and to allow long enough so that all parties have ample time to digest and comment upon what is being said.
o Silence your internal dialogue and your inner critic chatter. Breathing helps.
o Repeat what you hear for clarification, but not so often that it is distracting.
o Encourage the speaker to continue, i.e., “Fascinating; tell me more!Be like Edith: Stiffle yourself when the speaker makes a great point or pauses for a breath. You don’t need to speak. Silence is golden. Allow them to continue their stream of thought.
To let the speaker know you truly were focused on what he was saying, refer back to something he said earlier in the conversation. He’ll know his input is important to you.
Say “Thank You” for the speaker’s input every chance you get.
Enjoy the many, many benefits of purposeful and effective listening this week. I’d love it if you aggrandize your life with these skills.