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Are You Listening?
There is no other single goal we can set for ourselves that will help us become more effective at work and personally than listening. It will reduce the distortion of information flowing to us, thus enabling a better decision process. By listening more effectively, we will be more likely to quickly detect problems in our office and our personal life. As committed listeners, we will hear more because everyone will have more confidence in sharing information. Try the following tips and become a better listener:
- Good eye contact will form a bond that encourages the speaker.
- Never assume that you know what the speaker is going to say.
- Summarize what is said to avoid miscommunication. This will also dramatically improve your concentration.
- Listen with patience so that you give speakers a fair amount of time to explain their point of view.
- Listen with your body turned toward the speaker; leaning slightly forward shows involvement.
- Be sensitive to non-verbal cues; be an observer.
- Assume that you MISUNDERSTOOD what is said and keep checking what you hear with questions requiring clarification.
- Indicate you understand the speaker by responding both verbally and non-verbally.
- Determine your own biases and make a conscious effort to listen with openness and logic.
- When possible, encourage positive action. Try always to point the way to the high road.
Tom Peters says it most profoundly; “There are many who would say that unvarnished listening is the chief distinguisher between leadership success and failure, especially in times when the empowerment of everyone is paramount. Oddly enough, to listen, per se, is the single best tool for empowering large numbers of others.”
September 19, 1994
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