“You have to be willing sometimes to listen to some remarkable bad opinions. Because if you say to someone, ‘that’s the silliest thing I’ve ever heard; get on out of here!’—then you’ll never get anything out of that person again, and you might as well have a puppet on a string or a robot.” – John Bryan.
This morning I asked my husband to drop off a parcel at my office, he said he was busy, it was only later on I realized that he heard that I needed to be dropped, if it was just the parcel he could do it on way back too!
This is just an instance, but we go through life without really listening. Or listening partially. Most leadership trainings talk only about talking, selling, making a speech/presentation but the strongest suit in leadership would be listening.
When I say listening it means listening and not hearing some sound waves, so how should I listen?
It takes a little practise, of course the option of not listening at all is there, but effective listening makes a non-aggressive leader.
Here are some skills that I picked at Toastmasters International:
- Watch the person’s body language. It gives more cues than verbal communication
- Make eye contact with the person, that way there less distraction.
- Listen to every word – chalking your replying is not listening.
- Pause, ponder and then reply only when you are confident of having assimilated what was said.
- It is okay to ask questions, confirm the message and get clarifications.
One thing I came to appreciate about Listening skills after attending the Landmark education Forum is that we have an opinion on everything, and these opinions are the direct results of our listening.
When we hear, our brain processes the words rapidly through these filters.
- Is this true or false
- Is this right or wrong
- Is this good or bad
- What is the problem? How do I solve it?
- Should I agree with this or not?
- …..(reasoning) XYZ because of ABC or in order to ABC
- What is there in this for me/him/her/them?
Our action depends on the opinion created after this filtrations, and the either/or choice is such that it will allow us to come out smelling of roses immaterial of the others.
“There is no such thing as a worthless conversation, provided you know what to listen for. And questions are the breath of life for a conversation.”
— James Nathan Miller
Suggested Listening training.
· Landmark education forum.