“How good are you at listening?”
I want to share with you 3 of my tips to be a more effective listener.
Before I do that let me tell you a story.
One of my first roles in London, was working for Sony in their global finance department.
It so happened that, on one particular day, I was required to meet with a senior Japanese manager to explain an issue. Now of course I didn’t just go with the explanation I also went with my proposal for the solution.
As I was talking the manager was looking at my directly and nodding his head slowly, up and down. As I finished explaining the matter at hand, I went on to propose my solution. The manager continued to nod his head, up and down.
“I thought ‘yes, he agrees with me!’”
After I had finished, I asked “Do you agree?”
He replied “No!”
I was surprised and asked “I thought by you nodding you were in agreement?”
To which, again he replied “No, I was listening”.
I have looked back at the day many times and realised how amazing that manager was at being totally in the moment of listening.
When you listen “Are you thinking about other things? Are you perhaps holding on to a response and just waiting for a gap to jump in?”
Or do you listen with total attention and just letting whatever comes into you head to leave, without holding on to it.
If you start holding on to something to say, you are not going to be listening.
So, what can we do to be better listeners? Here are my top 3.
1) Practice sitting on your own for around 3 mins a day and try and listen for the sounds around you. Allow thoughts to come in and go out.
2) When you are listening to someone give them your all! Try and move all distractions away.
3) If you are worried that you may forget something said, quickly make a note and carry on focusing on the speaker.
Stephen Covey says it perfectly, “Most of us don’t listen with the intent to Understand. We listen with the intent to reply”.
Before I go I want to end off with this. “Everyone has a story to share and all it takes if for someone to listen”.