LISTENING SKILLS are, in my opinion, the #1 communication superpower…

If you’re not listening,
it’s not communication.
It’s a monologue! 

We could all use a primer on IMPROVING OUR LISTENING SKILLS. Whether we’re in an online meeting, engaging in small talk, or receiving feedback.  Active listening, listening with intent, can make all the difference! 

But HOW can we improve our listening skills?

Here are the top 3 things you can do to improve your LISTENING skills right now:

  1. ASK Qs
  2. FOCUS


1️⃣ Effective Listeners ASK Qs

questions quote tim ferriss


Step 1: ask lots of questions 

  • Ask as many questions as you can.
  • Absorb what the other person is telling you, as opposed to solving or resolving.  

Step 2: ask great questions 

  • Ask open-ended Qs.  Avoid yes/no Qs.  Try Qs that start with “why” or “how.”
  • Ask Qs that include the other person’s words. This technique demonstrates you are listening and can help you learn more. It takes practice, but it’s effective! 
    • If someone says, “I felt so embarrassed,” you can ask, “You felt so embarrassed?”
    • If someone says, “It was awesome!” you can ask,
Got it?


2️⃣ Effective Listeners FOCUS


listen quote julian treasure

Focus on learning

  • not on sharing or advising.
  • Your goal is to acquire information, not share information!


Focus on the other person

  • not on yourself, not on what you’re going to say. 
  • Avoid distractions and put away your phone.
  • Again – repeat the other person’s words back to them.


Focus on the 3 levels of listening

  1. Passive Listening – simple downloading, where we focus on what we already know.
  2. Empathic Listening – listening with focused intent and empathy, focusing on the other person.
  3. Collaborative Listening – the ultimate stage of listening is listening with focused intent, empathy, and then focusing on collaborating and learning.


Let’s focus, people!

3️⃣ Effective Listeners TRACK THE RATIO

epictetus listening quote


Track the ratio of you talking vs. the other person talking.

  • Make it into a game in your mind! Your objective is to talk less and encourage others to talk more.
  • Look around the room.  Who hasn’t been talking?  (See #1️⃣ above… Ask them a Q!)

Two reasons to track the ratio:

  1. The more they talk (and the less you talk) the more you’ll learn.
  2. The more they talk (and the less you talk) the more they’ll like you! 


Are You LISTENING to Me?

rabbit listening skills (image: Unsplash @ emilianovittoriosi)
(image: Unsplash @ emilianovittoriosi)

Here’s your homework for the week: 

In every interaction you have, challenge yourself to LISTEN by  

  1. ASKING Qs

Let me know how it goes!

Please forward this email to anyone who might appreciate some advice on LISTENING.  Thank you!  ?

Have a great week.