Listen Better

“Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.” ~ Winston Churchill

You have probably considered some personal skills you would like to develop or enhance through your leadership experience. For many leaders, learning how to better communicate is an area they want to practice and perfect. However, effective communication isn’t just about writing memos or speaking in public; one of the most important communication skills is listening!

No one is a perfect listener. Once you recognize the barriers to effective listening in which you commonly engage, you can work to better connect with others.

Think about the following common barriers. Which ones do you find yourself doing most?

◊ Comparing – Thinking about who is better, smarter, funnier, etc.

◊ Mind Reading – Paying little attention to words, and instead imagining meaning.

◊ Rehearsing – Focusing your attention on what you will say next, rather than on what is being said.

◊ Filtering – Listening to some things, but not others.

◊ Judging – Prejudging before you hear what the person has to say.

◊ Dreaming – Half-listening and drifting into your own thoughts.

◊ Identifying – Relating everything you hear back to your own experience.

◊ Advising – Hearing only a few sentences and then giving advice.

◊ Sparring – Arguing and debating every point.

◊ Being Right – Going to any length to avoid being wrong.

◊ Derailing – Suddenly changing the subject.

By focusing on these barriers to effective listening, you’ll become more self-aware. And that can lead to you becoming one of the best listeners around!