We are living in a world of attention deficit where no one has the time to listen. From what I have observed, organizations suffer from a listening crisis. Everyone has the answers and everybody wants to tell their story. No one is patient enough to sit back, ask questions and then really listen.
This calls for some gentle reminders – they aren’t cool new ideas but this is what we need as leaders if we wish to be really effective in organizations and within our families.
- Not listening is one of the two biggest wastes. The second is not speaking up when it matters.
- Effective listening starts with an intention to understand. When you constantly listen with intent of answering or replying, you miss on a lot of non-verbal clues in communication process.
- We want others to really understand, validate and appreciate us. The act of listening starts with realization that others have the same basic need.
- Listening is a way to respect others. When you don’t listen effectively, don’t ask questions, don’t confirm your understanding and don’t acknowledge the messages, you are sending wrong signals.
- Effective listening entails putting the filters of your preconceived notions and beliefs aside. These filters will not allow you to get into their frame of reference.
- People think listening happens only through ears. You can also listen with your eyes and with your heart. In pursuit to be an effective listener, it is important to remember that only about 40% of communication happens through words and sounds. Rest is all non-verbal.
- Listening is also about receiving the feeling behind what is being said. When you listen, listen the words, the tone, the words being used and the feeling behind it. What is being said and the meaning behind may be very different.
- Technology can be an impediment to effective listening. That message on your phone, the popping sound of email and unending stream of social media updates are not more important than a human being in front of you who wants to express. Listening enough is caring enough.
- Listening is not practiced only when we are with others. You can (and you should) spend time listening to your inner self. It raises self-awareness!
- I remember words of that wise consultant who said, “The more you tell, the less you sell.” All great sales people and negotiators are first and foremost, great listeners.
- Effective listening is a leader’s primary responsibility – an obligation towards the followers. Great leadership starts with effective and empathetic listening – an important element of any conversation.
A leader needs to ENLIST others on their vision for which they need to LISTEN for which they need to be SILENT. Three words made up from the same letters.
Does that tell us something or is it a plain co-incidence?
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