“Effective listening is not just waiting for your turn to speak!”Jonathan Thalberg
A Question: What is good listening? How can listening strengthen our relationship? When you practice good listening – what is the impact on our cultures – our teams – the impact we can have on results?
As we practice exceptional listening there are three absolutes to being a great listener.
Connect with your partner. Look your colleague in the eyes – acknowledge their passions and their thoughts. Be present in the moment. As you are shifting from a monologue to a discussion, engage, contribute, and connect. As the discussion evolves, be curious – ask questions – seek clarity. Being an impactful listener is all about discovery and action. Don’t end the conversation without knowing what your next steps could be.
Remove all distractions. This step is (or should be) simple. Turn off your phone. You have invested in this relationship – nothing should be more important than engaging for the next small period of time. Shut the doors, turn off music, and do what you can to protect the environment.
ASK. As mentioned in the other two steps, a great listener asks questions. There is, of course, a balance; however, understanding the topic and the expectations is a key success factor facing a great listener. Make sure you never end your conversation without fully understanding what the objective of the conversation was.
Some simple tips and trick:
- Validate: “am I understanding you correctly”?
- Engage: look your colleague in the eyes (or on the phone – ask questions).
- Empathy: show you understand the challege. “I hear you”
- Encourage: use supportive words to reflect.
- Facilitate: ask a question of the other person. Follow up questions are great!
- Show interest: take notes
- Confirm the action: send a summary email.
- Drive accountability: clarify roles and ownership.