It can be so depressing to witness the simple (but key) act of listening just disappear. You cannot be effective, accountable and a great manager/leader without some listening skills. You just cannot.
The most rudimentary of our communication skills is listening. If you have ever watched hearing impaired people communicate (speak) with each other, it is a beautiful thing to experience. They are totally present. Use their full body and hands to speak and watch each other for signs that they are getting what the other is saying. It is an energetic experience – full eye contact and big facial expressions. We need to emulate this kind of listening.
What are some of the keys to excellence in our communication and listening:
- The people we are speaking with know we are totally present to the conversation
- Our body language is in sync with the words we are communicating
- We ask questions and/or ask people to repeat their information so we get it right
- Accountability is used to make sure that the information is delivered or completed in a timely way
- Rapport with the other is felt and intentionally created to connect with the other
So much of our communication is not in person, but it can be made to come across to people that way. AND it all begins with listening to what is being said; how it is being said; when it is being said and why it is being communicated to us.
LISTENING IS NOT THE ACT OF WAITING TO SPEAK!!
Trust me, if you are preoccupied with what you are going to say when someone is finished speaking, you are not listening.
People are preoccupied; not listening; not present; nodding their heads without hearing the words; doing everything else but listening.
Let me give you an example from a speaking presentation I did on Monday to a lunch group of salespeople who network and learn from each other – the topic of my presentation was:
“WHAT, I am listening.”
My habit when presenting is to stand at the opening to the room and greet the participants. This day I had a “listening test” for them to take – 5 minutes at tops – and we would be discussing the results as part of the presentation. I asked them to take the test and add up their score.
One person did what I asked. That is pretty typical. The listening scores were low because the exercise and the request were done to show how little people listen.
Several said they did not hear the instructions. Most took the test but did not add up their scores. One person said they did not receive the paper test, and it was right at their seat. One other said they did not complete because he did not get enough instructions to complete – but did not ask me for any additional information.
You get my point.
The presentation they were taking their precious time to attend was on listening. And they did not show up as a listener at all.
The presentation went well; the comments and feedback were terrific; people learned how to better listen and they loved the 4 tips I gave them to IMMEDIATELY shift their quality and effectiveness in their listening. Let me know if you would like me to bring this content to you and your team, organization or networking/association group. It is good stuff!! You can find the testimonial from the Vice President on my speaking testimonial page.
If you have not taken the listening test, the link is below. You deserve to be an effective listener and leader. Take the test and find out how you are doing.
To your confident success,