Please Listen


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Where do we learn to listen?

It’s not a skill actually taught in school, is it? We learn to listen in our primary family situation when we are children. Like many of the things we learned at home, we learned by example. If we were surrounded by people who listened carefully and paid attention, we most likely learned to do the same. If we were surrounded by people who listened while doing other things, while distracted, or half-heartedly, we learned another style of listening. See where I’m going here?

Unless we were exposed to teachers, mentors or relatives that taught us otherwise, we picked up whatever listening habits we grew up with. And that leaves many of us needing a little fine-tuning in the listening department.

Here are a few tips on tuning up your listening skills:

  • Desire it. Want to listen better. You need to have a desire to motivate yourself to slow down and make sure you understood what is being said to you
  • Don’t make assumptions about what the other person is going to say. (And please don’t finish their sentences for them.)
  • Concentrate – Focus your attention, all of it, on the person who is speaking
  • Don’t be thinking about your response while the speaker is still speaking
  • Only question to understand what’s being said (use open questions like: ‘can you tell me what you really mean by that?’ or ‘what do you mean by …’ or how long has this been an issue to you’)
  • Avoid interpreting (oh I know what you mean), probing (what sort of car was it?) advising (yes, what you should do is) and evaluation (oh that’s terrible): these ALL get in the way of TRUE listening
  • When there’s a break, confirm your understanding of what was said. “So if I heard you correctly..” “Let me make sure I have this..” “Here’s my understanding..”
  • Practice. Like any skill, good listening takes practice. And it takes patience – especially in this fast paced world.

But think about this – there’s a bonus to doing it right. You won’t annoy people and have to keep dealing with mistakes … and you’ll start really winning friends and influencing people!

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Guy Arnold
Guy is the author of 'Great or Poor' ( ) … a simple and effective system for delivery of consistent and continually improving customer experiences, 'Go the Extra Inch' the effective way to empower your people, and 'Sales through Service' ( ) how to sell more through repeat business, referrals, round sales and reputation (the 4 R's). Guy helps Organisations large and small to systematically make more sales for lower costs, through 4 simple principles.


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