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  • Writer's pictureKaren Stabile

Did you really say, "Get off that couch?"

I really did say, Get off the couch! But for some reason, he never seemed to hear me. This is Edison, a pup we once had. He listened fairly well, except when he was on the couch.

What's the one thing that says, “I’m far more interested in you, than in myself? I'm far more interested in you, than me."

If I said, "listening," would you agree?

Most of the people I partner with in coaching, share in our planning session, they wish they were a better communicator. And it does make sense that leaders know how to effectively communicate.

The best way I know how to develop this skill, is to cultivate listening. Some desire more of a back bone. Others long to be more empathetic and understanding. A few wish they didn’t need to search so hard for the right words. Then there's those who bite their tongue, because they know they have said way more than they should have.

All of this matters. And it's important, but listening is a better cure.

The words we say, must fall in line with listening to what the other person says. It’s a skill paramount to your ability to connect and commit to the person standing in front of you. Try just listening in a conversation, maybe adding a few nods and I sees. And then try talking and not listening at all. Let me know which person you influenced the most. Look at their facial expressions and you will know how they feel about the conversation you are having.

No successful relationship exists without healthy communication. But, it still hinges on you ability to first listen. Listening says, I'm willing to put my agenda, fight, the point I'm trying to make aside and hear what you have to say. It's not about me, it's about you. Imagine the other person doing the same, making it about you.

No pressure here, but for a leader…it’s a skill that needs to be increasing on a regular basis.

We think that in order to perfect our communication, to share and speak our heart and mind, it begins with formulating what we should say and the words we should use. We want our response to stop people in their tracts. Blow them away so they think we are really good at what we do…impressive as all this is, it’s not where our exchange begins…

Don't get me wrong, preparing for a conversation, meeting, presentation, or where ever you are going to need to give your account of something, is vital. But, if there are more people involved who will be talking too. You'd still better be able to listen so what you say seems to flow. If you go in with your agenda, it will show.

Our level of listening determines how well we are relating. Where are you straining your ears to try and understand what the other person is trying to tell you? From their perspective, not yours? Are you filtering what they are saying through your filter and then trying to understand what their filter is? And then going back to your filter? And then trying to ask yourself, what they really meant?

Don't laugh, we have all done it and it's totally draining for you and equally draining for the person talking to you. They see the shift taking place in your eyes as your thoughts bounce around in your head.

"What would happen, if I we listened to them first? What would happen if we knew their filter as well as we know our own? What would happen if we were even able to know why they think the way they do? What would happen if we gave them the benefit of, they were born to think this way and process things?" This understanding would take the fight out of it all. It would really help with the listening factor.

Taking myself out of the picture, doesn't mean I've lost my opinion on the matter It doesn't mean they are right and I am wrong. It does't mean they have won. When people really listen, and engage well in conversation, everyone feels they have won when they walk out of the room.

Giving them the floor, frees you to focus on them. It takes the guess work out of the picture. When you listen you look so extremely wise and in control of your being. Who doesn't want to look wise?

How to Listen Like You Were Born to "Listen," because you do it so well...

1. Remember you can learn something of value from everyone. Listen close for the value they offer.

2. Pick out the main theme of what they are saying. Look for meaning and emotion behind their words. Repeat a few of their thoughts back to them to clarify that you understand what they are saying. (Just because you clarify, doesn't mean you agree.)

3. Distracted by the environment, move to a better location. Nothing make listening more of a chore than noise.

4. Don’t allow past interactions you may have had with this person taint you. Give them a clean slate. Let it go. This will speak volumes of your maturity and professional control. You may need a second chance too someday soon.

5. People think four times faster than others talk. Don’t form your conclusion, until the person is done. Don’t leave the conversation after a couple of minutes to write your reply in your mind. We all know that, “Sorry, I’ve left the conversation look."

6. Practice, practice, practice…you will be surprised by their reactions. Giving people your undivided attention…will blow them away, more than any words you could possibly say. They will trust you more each time you listen well.

Talking is overrated. Listen like you mean it, others will seek you out for your feedback and thoughts…There's no need to fight for the floor. They'll offer it to you. You have earned their trust. You may be the only person who listens to them! They in turn will learn from your example and maybe even try a few of listening examples on someone else. How great would that be to start a movement where people really listen well to others.

Now wouldn't that be a great reputation to have?

Edison didn't listen, when he was on the couch. He would actually pretend he didn't hear me, yelling to GET OFF.

Where is it that you don't listen?

I'd love for you to take advantage of my FREE Get Acquainted 30 minute phone call. I'll be there to listen andvthe we can talk about your coaching options. There is no obligation to coach with me as a result of this call.

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