Of all the communications tools we have in our tool chest, listening is the most powerful.
Being a better listener is a craft (craft = art + science). And, sharpening our listening skills is a daily discipline.
Some things to consider if we wanna be better listeners...
- Asking first - enter conversations with quality questions rather than statements. Inquiring about others as people, about what we don't know, about how to do or be better, about.... Inviting others to talk is a great way to learn.
- Slow the pace, lower the volume - pausing, considering, reflecting about what is being said, all lend a sense of being valued in the minds of others. Prospects for our learning something useful and important go up immensely.
- Truth rules - when we listen (and speak), truth must be the standard. Anything less is an open invitation for the suspension of attention. Opportunities to learn are lost, on both sides.
- Deference disposition - assuming others have important insight that we want and need is an excellent way to learn. Virtually impossible to gain if we are the one talking.