It’s ironic that the hardest communication skill has nothing to do with speaking. It has everything to do with listening. If we just shut up long enough we’d really understand what’s going on with our organization/think tank/strategy planning/board meetings.
Melissa Daimler, head of the Global Learning & Organizational Development team @Twitter, discusses three levels of listening and three listening tips in a recent Harvard Business Review article.
Daimler’s Three Listening Levels:
INTERNAL LISTENING – You’re listening but you’re focused on your own thoughts, worries and priorities. You’re even doing a pretty good job of fake listening.
FOCUSED LISTENING – You’re focused on the other person, but you’re still not totally present. You’re catching the words but not the nuance.
360 LISTENING – This is where the magic happens according to Daimler. You’re listening at all levels – what’s being said, what’s not being said and everything in between.
But how do you get to 360 Listening? Daimler suggests:
- Look people in the eye. Her big aha here: put down your mobile and close your computer.
- Create space in your day. You cram too much into each day. I’ve been told I’m an “optimistic scheduler”. Read that as running like a lunatic from meeting to client to exercise to entertaining to packing to lunches to insanity. When you have NO extra time then there’s no space to create 360 listening.
- Ask more questions. Even if colleagues want advice it’s best to start with questions rather than pronouncements. Often you won’t say that much but your questions help facilitate solutions.
Daimler concludes by saying, “Even in a world of limitless, instantaneous, global connection, the most powerful mode of communication is that of two people listening.”
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© Karen Cortell Reisman, M.S., author of 3 books and President of Speak For Yourself®, works with decision makers on how to speak with gravitas. It’s all in how you speak for yourself. Karen also speaks about her cousin, Albert Einstein, in a message about hope, resilience and brassieres.
Read more at www.SpeakForYourself.com/blog.
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