Thursday, April 22, 2010

RAPID RECAP: HOW TO LISTEN POWERFULLY

1. Stop talking. To others and to yourself. Learn to still the voice within. You can’t listen if you are talking.

2. Imagine the other person’s point of view. Picture yourself in her position, doing her work, facing her problems, using her language, and having her values. If the other person is younger or more junior, remember your own early years.

3. Look, act, and be interested. Don’t read your mail, doodle, shuffle, or tap papers while others are talking.

4. Observe nonverbal behavior, like body language, to glean meanings beyond what is said to you.

5. Don’t interrupt. Sit still past your tolerance level, the point when you would normally speak.

6. Listen between the lines for implicit meanings as well as the explicit ones. Consider connotations as well as denotations. Note figures of speech. Instead of accepting a person’s remarks as the whole story, look for omissions -- things left unsaid or unexplained, which should logically be present. Ask about these.

7. Speak only affirmatively while listening. Resist the temptation to jump in with an
evaluative, critical, or disparaging comment at the moment a remark is uttered. Confine yourself to constructive replies until criticism can be offered without blame.

8. To ensure understanding, rephrase what the other person has just told you at key points in the conversation. Yes, I know this is the old ‘active listening’ technique, but it works.

9. Stop talking. This is first and last, because all other techniques of listening depend on it. Take a vow of silence once in a while.

"Listening is the most underdeveloped leadership skill."

~ Peter Drucker;

[Source: Action Learning Guide; Federal Executive Institute, U. S. Office of Personnel Management;]

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