5 Strategic Listening Skills

Listen, true leaders need to practice active listening. Have you ever been in a meeting with a direct report when you got distracted because your Blackberry went off and you checked it?

Or you heard the bing of email and drew your eyes away from the person you were speaking with and just like that the communication ended. Having sat on both sides of the table I truly understand that by multi-tasking and not giving proper attention to the person you are speaking with that you are sending a message that implies that, “You are not worth my full attention”.  This is true for most serious interactions that you are a part of, and is true in your home as well.

As Kenneth R. Johnson, said in his book, Effective Listening Skills, “Listening effectively to others can be the most fundamental and powerful communication tool of all. When someone is willing to stop talking or thinking and begin truly listening to others, all of their interactions become easier, and communication problems are all but eliminated.

Send the message that the person you are meeting with is deserving of your time by simply folding down your laptop, turning off your email and silencing your phone.

Top 5 Tips for being a good listener:

1. Turn off electronics and make eye contact.
2. Don’t let your mind wander, focus on the discussion at hand.
3. Don’t interrupt, let the speaker finish before you start talking.
4. Listen for the key points that the speaker is trying to get across. If you’re not sure then ask.
5. Body language speaks volumes, engage and react with the speaker, just by giving them your undivided attention they are being validated.

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