Friday, April 12, 2013

The power of listening.

"Our conversations at home, at work, and in the community are often more about jockeying for airtime than really communicating." 

I will be the first to admit that I am working on my listening skills.  My wife would probably be the first to say that I need an intervention.  The art of listening is so important in effectively communicating with each other.  I find it difficult at times in my position to keep my mouth shut and just listen to the conversations that are occurring.  Just because I am a leader doesn't mean that I should dominate the discussion and stifle the other ideas from people.  Innovation and creativity are more than likely to occur in a group setting, if we don't allow others to speak we may be missing something.  I am wrapping up Unmistakable Impact by Jim Knight. He has a short segment on listening that just makes sense.  Here are some ideas that may be helpful to you as well.

1. We need to take in at least as much as we put out.

2. We should paraphrase back what we hear.

3. Make a decision to really listen. Commit to really hearing what others are saying.

4. Be the listener not the speaker. If both are the speaker than nobody is listening.

5. Make sure your partner is the speaker.

6. Pause and think before you respond.  "Will what I'm about to say open up or close down the conversation?"

I think we can all say that we have had conversations where you can clearly tell the other person is not listening and could careless about what you have to say.  We can all recall situations where people dominate the discussion, and jump in immediately when you finish your point.  Putting effort in something so simple as listening will go along way in developing effective communication at school and at home.  Make eye contact, ask open ended questions and be curious. 

"A great conversationalist is one who lets the other person have the conversation." - Susan Scott

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