Over the years, I’ve learned the value and power of being an intentional listener – it can literally change lives and businesses. Below, I’ll outline three pointers about the art of listening.
- Listen more, talk less
- Count to three when someone is finished speaking
- Parrot it back
Listen more, talk less. This sounds silly, but this is one of the primary areas where we get in our own way. We love the sound of our own voices and we often find ourselves fascinating. It’s important to remember the good Lord gave us two ears and one mouth, which I think means we should listen twice as much as we talk. Providing the time and space for your direct reports to tell you what they should is critical to your company’s success.
Count to three. When someone provides a powerful idea that we want to move forward, or an issue we want to help solve, or even a position we disagree with, we often start talking the millisecond they stop, perhaps even cutting them off. The subconscious impact of this can be highly counterproductive. When we don’t give the proper focus to hear what someone is really saying or when we don’t take the time to consider what they’re saying, people are often left feeling frustrated or dismissed. The next time you find yourself in a deep conversation, try out the following:
- Look the person in the eye and really listen to what they’re saying
- Wait for them to finish their sentence
- Count to three in your head and then respond
These three tiny steps can have a huge impact on your dialogues. The simple fact that you counted to three will suggest you’ve truly considered the person’s words. And you show that they’re valued.
Parrot it back. It’s often been said that so much is lost in translation. I agree. When someone presents an idea, issue, or opinion, rather than offering a counterpoint right away, start with, “If I’m hearing you correctly, you’re saying…” This can have immense value in two ways. The first is that it shows you’ve been listening and you understand exactly what the person is presenting. The second is that it allows the person to hear what they’ve said and to clarify it – often for themselves. Making sure you’re talking about the same point will help to clarify and streamline the discussion.
Are you interested in becoming a better listener? Could your team use some assistance in the listening department? We can help! Reach out to us today for a no-obligation consultation.