Listening Skills are a Superpower
- why listening is so difficult
- the 3 levels of listening
- strategies to improve your listening…
Here’s your summary: 5 ways to improve your listening skills right now:
1️⃣ FOCUS ON THE OTHER PERSON
- …Not on yourself, not on what you’re going to say!
- Beyond their words! Body language too. Their facial expression, their posture, their eyes. What are they really saying?
2️⃣ ASK: “WHAT’S MY GOAL HERE?”
- What are you trying to accomplish? This is about being mindful.
- Avoid distractions and put away your phone. Make it easy for yourself to focus. No multi-tasking, yes mono-tasking.
- Focus on learning, not on sharing or advising. Your goal is to acquire information, not share information!
3️⃣ FOCUS ON THE 3 LEVELS OF LISTENING
- Passive Listening
- This is our default. Most of us are here most of the time!
- This is when we pretend to listen. We’re not interrupting, we’re waiting our turn. It’s simple downloading, where we listen for what we already know.
- Active Listening
- Listening with focused intent and empathy
- Focusing on the other person!
- Collaborative Listening
- The ultimate stage of listening skills is collaborative and synergistic. This is listening with focused intent, empathy, and a desire to learn.
- Consider others’ input as a key ingredient for your goal!
4️⃣ ASK QUALITY QUESTIONS
- Ask as many questions as you can. But ask quality questions!
- Ask open-ended Qs. Avoid yes/no Qs.
- Encourage others to tell you story (“can you tell me about…?”)
- Ask Qs that include the other person’s words. If someone says, “This is so difficult,” you can ask, “Difficult?” If someone says, “I felt so embarrassed,” you can ask, “You felt so embarrassed?”
5️⃣ TRACK THE RATIO
- Track the ratio of you talking vs. the other person talking. Two reasons to track the ratio:
- LEARNING – The more you listen, the more you learn
- LIKING – The more you listen, the more they’ll like you!
- This might be easier for Introverts, who typically are better listeners!!
- This is a great opportunity for you to demonstrate your leadership skills. Track not just your ratio, but the ratio of everyone else in the room. If someone hasn’t spoken, encourage them to speak up. Ask them an open-ended question, and then (as my friend Jill Nykoliation suggests), HOLD SPACE for them to talk.
That’s it for this week! Please forward this email to your friends who might like some help with listening skills or with other communication skills-related topics. Thank you!
Have a great week.
Dr. Andrea Wojnicki
Chief Talker & Communication Coach
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