Listen your way to success

You are probably thinking that I have lost my marbles with the title of this post, however stay with me.

We put so much emphasis on clever pitches, presentations and influencing people (all important) in meetings or waxing lyrical to our partners and family about our day that we tend not to consider our listening skills.

Are we truly listening or are we just waiting for our chance to put across our point of view that matches our agenda / objective, maybe even satisfying our ego?

Test yourself; do you do any of these in

Important meetings

  • Think about the amount of work you have already on your desk
  • Think about the previous meeting that didn’t go so well
  • Check your blackberry etc.?
  • Concentrate solely on what you want or your ideas
  • On telephone conferences put yourself on mute and work your way through emails
  • Take copious amounts of notes

At home

  • Talk about your day in front of the telly, computer or whilst doing something else

If you have mentally ticked yes to any of these then you may not be ‘living in the moment’ and truly listening and have the potential to miss important chances to communicate or influence someone in the most effective way. You may be treating symptoms not the root cause and so they are less likely to see the merits in your solution. Switch off any ‘interference’ that can affect your listening.

‘I have so much work and so many meetings that I need to multi-task’ is a common objection to this, however this is more about saying yes rather than no which I will cover in future post.

Listening effectively will help time management as you will not have to cover the same ground again; you have closed the sale or articulated your point or feelings in a persuasive way.

Stephen covey said ‘seek to understand before being understood’ – 7 Habits of Highly Effective people. https://www.stephencovey.com/ (his new 8th habit is great too)

He talks about listening with your ears, eyes and heart

5 levels of listening

5. Empathetic – as active however, you are putting yourself in their shoes, noting body language, tone, pace and volume of speech

4. Active – Verbal and non-verbal nods, asking pertinent questions, recapping offering relevant insights or challenges

3. Selective – Hearing what you want to hear

2. Pretending – Nodding dog syndrome

1. Ignoring – off in your own wee world – lights are on but nobody is home

Ok so sometimes I am in the zones of 1 – 3 (clothes shopping springs to mind!) I am not perfect. It does take hard work and effort to listen well

If you have an important meeting then you need to be in zone 5 as sometimes… what is not being said is as important as what is.

Ever heard someone say ‘I dont need solutions or help I just want someone to listen’

So my challenge is to practice empathetic listening at least once a day and record how you get on. You might want to start with family members or friends, remove any distractions TV etc. sit down and ask them about their day and stay in zone 5!

Feel free to post results in the comments box. Hope you are having a great week

Positivity – the number 1 free development solution

Well, it’s Monday morning as I write this, and the old cliche got me to thinking about positivity.

How does attitude affect us in the workplace and not just on Mondays?

Are any of the following phrases familiar?

  • Nothing changes here
  • I sick of the way I am treated
  • No one listens to my idea’s
  • No one motivates me
  • I hate my job but I have to pay the bills
  • Same S*** different day

Feel free to add in the comment boxes any you regularly hear…please keep it U rated!

Have you ever worked with people that even though you’re just back from an amazing holiday and feel energised and positive to be back, they manage to make you feel like it was a distant memory by 10am?

I think everybody at some point has fallen into this trap.

A few potential solutions are straightforward, however, at first not easy

  • Science says opposites attract, so when faced with a negative situation, look for the positive no matter how hard. Don’t ignore the negative, use it to get the root cause of the matter so you can find a solution
  • Our ‘inner critic’ will always find ways for not doing something, as it wants to reduce the risk to ourselves. To realise our goals or dreams we always have to take risks. Ask yourself ‘What is the worst that can happen?’
  • Every day on your way home from work, remind yourself of the positives of the day. You would probably never dream of giving someone totally negative feedback so why do that to yourself.
  • Catch yourself when you are moaning about work. Stop. Think about what the impact is on you and those around you. How you can change things and/or ask for help?
  • Actively build a support network e.g. mentor, subject matter experts, people with experience inside and outside your field of business, family & friends
  • Apart from material rewards at work e.g. pay, holidays, company car, what motivates you? Are these motivations being met in your current role and if not, what can you do to change this?
  • Don’t sweat the small stuff
  • Everyday day do something to take your life forward

If your are still unconvinced

or

Have a look at the 11 benefits of being positive ihttp://www.jongordon.com/blog/2009/01/18/11-benefits-of-being-positive/

Finally, who do you prefer to be around at work and in your personal life… positive or negative people?

If you have any suggestions or questions around personal / team development drop it into the comment box and I will look to include it in future blogs. I hope you have an amazing week.