Six Easy Tips For Being A Better Listener

Six Easy Tips For Being A Better Listener

It's been a busy few months of graphic recording for city council meetings to leadership teams of Fortune 100 companies.  Across all sectors I'm observing similar themes and thought I'd share one about listening.

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Being a good listener requires presence, concentration, and most importantly an open mind.
 
I listen to and graphic record all sorts of conversations – from town hall meetings to leadership teams discussing critical next steps in businesses that are rapidly changing.
 
Over time I’ve observed that the most fruitful meetings are the result of good listening. These are the meetings where objectives are met, next steps are agreed upon, and people leave feeling inspired.
 
Here are six easy tips that will help anyone become a better listener:
 
1.  Take a breath.  This will help to clear your mind and position you to listen.
 
2. Use empathy.  Put your personal biases aside and listen to understand, not to respond.  If you disagree with what the person you’re listening to is saying, here’s your opportunity to look for common ground.
 
3.  Ask clarifying questions. 
 
4.  Don’t interrupt. 
 
5.  Give it a beat.  Wait a full 5 seconds before responding after the person you’re listening to finishes talking.  You’ll be amazed at how powerful this is for both you and the person you’re listening to.
 
6.  Be willing to shift.
 
Whether you gain a new perspective or simply let another person share theirs, listening is a skill worth practicing.

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