Hone Your Listening Skills for Success
By: Craig Harrison
This column first appeared in Craig Harrison’s April, 2002 Specifically Speaking e-zine.
So much attention is focused on what to say and how to say it.
In speeches, debates and conversation, we are obsessed with our message and how to express ourselves. Sometimes, this focus obscures our listening.
This month we focus on listening skills as key to our success as communicators, leaders, servers and as human beings.
Any discussion on the importance of listening -- vis-à-vis speaking -- should acknowledge the fact that we were born with two ears and just one mouth. The implication: we should listen twice as much as we speak!
Believe it or not, Listening is a learned skill. While we are blessed with ears to hear with, listening is more than just hearing. Listening involves an active engagement.
By definition Listening means:
"applying oneself to hearing something"
DID YOU KNOW...?
Here are some facts about listening, courtesy of colleague Louisa Rogers, Louisa Rogers Communications, in Eureka, CA:
Based on Louisa's findings I believe the following: where there's a will, there are ways to become a better listener.
DON'T JUST DO SOMETHING...LISTEN!
Alas, we can become better listeners once we set our mind and ears to it.
Vow to become a better listener.
"I'm not sure I understand"
"what do you mean?"
let the listener know you are hazy about their meaning.
9. A great way to confirm for your listener and yourself that you understand is to periodically paraphrase or replay what you believe you heard. It's a reality check that allows you both to continue with confidence.
Whether you are brokering peace in the Middle East or a squabble with a family member at the dinner table, I find wisdom in Stephen Covey's proscription to "seek first to understand, then to be understood."
So hang out your "Hear Here" sign, follow this sound advice and listen for success!