Listening – Key to your Success
By Chafic Kharma20th Feb
You are listening but not really engaged, listening but not really connected or listening but not really clear what is being said… basically listening but @#$%!&#@$… You probably experienced something similar and you probably noticed it is more frequent! Why is that? Communication is something we did and still do but the method has changed. With today’s technology, we are texting more than we are speaking and with that we are losing the competency of listening – a key factor to your success.
Listening is so important that many top employers provide listening skills training for their employees. This is not surprising when good listening skills can lead to: better customer satisfaction, greater productivity with fewer mistakes, increased sharing of information that in turn can lead to more creative and innovative work.
There is a lot that can be done to improve the intensity and accuracy of this skill and to develop a greater insight into what people are really saying. Here are few practices to consider:
- Be attentive and tune in to what someone is saying and tune out all the noise.
- Show interest and pay attention to everything the speaker is saying.
- Nod and use murmur like; “uh-huh” and “um-hmm”.
- Let them finish then, if needed, clarify any statement or thought.
- Summarize, in your own words, to confirm your understanding of what the speaker said.
You will know that you became a good listener when people enjoy having a conversation with you and will talk to you more often.
Practicing is one part while understanding the art of listening is the other. I say art because listening is more than hearing the words, it is about understanding and seeing the underlying messages. In other words, it is knowing what others have said and what they meant to say. One of the common themes of an art is the sense of being at one with it. Rather than thinking of listening as an act, we identify it as an art, something that we be, a way of being. Thinking about listening as an art changes our perception of what it means to listen.
I believe there is a reason for everything…. And there is a reason for having two ears and a mouth. The reason is to listen twice as much as we speak. The art is to control the mind while listening so that it does not wander towards responses. Listen and again listen to understand better then take the time needed to frame the response. By this we will have to listen to understand not to jump into conclusions and respond about what we see and hear. Listening at this stage doesn’t imply that we are accepting but it means that we are giving both ears to someone.
It also necessary to differentiate between hearing and listening. The dictionary says that listening to another person means to give attention with the ear; attend closely for the purpose of hearing; give ear. Listening is a voluntary act where we try to make sense out of the noise we hear. Whereas hearing is defined as the act of perceiving sound. Hearing is an involuntary process that starts with noise, vibrations, the movement of fluid in the ears and sound sent to the brain.
Many successful leaders and entrepreneurs credit their success to effective listening skills. They are destined to be the better, more compassionate leaders. Richard Branson frequently quotes listening as one of the main factors behind the success of Virgin.
I would like to end with a quote by Dalai Lama: “When you talk, you are only repeating what you already know. But if you listen, you may learn something new.”
Thank you for reading this post. I learn from your experience as well. Please share your thoughts on this topic.
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Peter Drucker once brilliantly mentioned that, “Management is doing things right”, but “leadership is doing the right things”.28th August 2018
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First posted on our strategic partners, Professional Academy, 30th July 2018