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The Bold Faced Blog™

December 08, 2016

Guest Blogger | Ashton Associate Ann Rosser on Listening Well

Posted 346 days ago by Ann Rosser

"Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply."                                                          Stephen Covey

Listen (verb): to hear what someone has said and understand that it is serious, important, or true.

Conventional wisdom defines a good listener as someone who does not interrupt, shows interest with a simple confirming word or two, and then repeats back what was said. Good listeners can become great listeners by taking a more active role in the conversation.

As reported by Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman in the HBR article “What Great Listeners Actually Do.” The best listeners make the conversation a two way dialogue. They ask questions that probe for further insight and make suggestions that are not critical but reflect understanding of the speaker’s words. Successful listeners also interact in a positive way to express support of and build confidence in the speaker.

In short, a good listener not only absorbs what was said, but amplifies it and raises it up to a higher level.

Evaluate your listening skills, and focus on action you can take to improve the dialogue. Key steps can include:

  • Provide a safe environment
  • Clear away distractions
  • Ask pertinent questions
  • Observe nonverbal cues
  • Be empathetic
  • Clarify and illuminate

Also, be aware of common pitfalls to avoid, such as rushing to problem-solve or criticize, and hijacking the conversation.

To listen is to truly hear what is being said. It is a valuable skill that, like any skill, can be learned and honed. 

Tags: Ann Ross Ashton Associate Communication Guest Blogger Listening

Categories: categoryConsulting categoryGreat Quotes categorySkill Building categoryLeadership

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