You learned to listen before you were born. It was the first skill you ever developed – you were a listener before you learned to breathe or speak.
So why are so many people so bad at listening?
We are all taught to speak yet none of us are taught to listen. Unsurprisingly, therefore, there’s bias toward the speaking skill and our listening skills have languished, undeveloped.
The reality is that with no training we can instantly identify when the person we are speaking to isn’t listening. It’s a natural human instinct to detect when someone isn’t listening.
The cost of not listening for managers and executives is significant especially as you try to bring about change and impact inside and outside your organisation. The lost potential is massive and the frustration it creates brings chaos, confusion, and conflict in the workplace.
The four listening types described in Deep Listening – Impact Beyond Words endeavour to address the imbalance and promote change through understanding.
Poor listening is individual and situational.
Poor listening habits are a function of who you are speaking to as much as the nature of the dialogue. Each of us, when we are not conscious of practicing deep listening, fall into four listening types. These listening habits are not productive for you nor the person you are in dialogue with.
As we explore the 4 habits of poor listeners in Part 2, you’ll likely find you fall into more than a couple of categories and hopefully be able to see which people and situations elicit which listening habit from you. Sometimes it will be with people you know well. Sometimes it will be people you’ve just met.
The challenge in being an effective listener and productive leader is twofold: When you are speaking you need to be conscious that your speaking style matches your target’s listening style. Conversely, as a leader, you need to be able to help a speaker be more flexible in their speaking style through displaying deeper listening.
As leaders, we understand that our colleagues, managers, stakeholders and customers don’t just want you to ‘watch them speak’, they want to be understood and they want to be heard.
In Part 2 we will help you identify your listening style, its consequences, and outline what you can do about it.
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How easily can you identify when someone isn’t listening to you and does it alter how you’re speaking?
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