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How to Really Listen

| February 28, 2012

by Jim Bruce

We all need to have a “listening” tune-up from time-to-time.  Today’s reading “How to Really Listen”serves that purpose.  The article is from the Harvard Business Review Blogs and was written by Peter Bergman, author (“Get the Right Things Done”) and strategic advisor to CEOs and their leadership teams.

Listening is hard, one or the hardest of the routine things we have to do each day.

It’s so hard because we have to actually listen.  That means stopping all the multitasking – email, surfing, making a list, thinking about what you are going to say next.  You have to focus on what the other person is saying and don’t interrupt, let them finish their thought.

We can demonstrate that we are listening by repeating back what we heard.  It sounds silly.  But it communicates to the person that he or she has been heard.  This also gives you a brief moment to organize your thoughts and form a question to continue the discussion.

Your open-ended questions should explore the other individual’s thoughts and feelings so that you can see the issue more clearly.  This is not a time to prove your point.  It’s a time for you to better understand what’s going on so that you allow your conversation partner to go deeper in what she cares about.  

Listening is not agreeing.  It, in and of itself, doesn’t force any particular action on anyone’s part.  But, you will increase everyone’s understanding of the issue.  And, that’s good.

So, as you go about your day, really listen.  You’ll find it really improves your conversations.


.  .  .  .     jim