Yes, you read that correctly. And, the truth is, it’s everyone’s responsibility to listen to one another!
Many leaders, bosses and employees claim to be too busy to listen. They say it’s other people’s fault when they don’t listen. I would like you to try on this idea: Your busyness is a direct reflection of how well you do or don’t listen! Many of us attempt to hide our poor listening skills by jumping ahead in a conversation, making snide comments, playing with electronic gadgets, entertaining our inner monologue or blaming others when miscommunication occurs. And, this is only a few of the bad habits we’ve developed.
When you take responsibility for listening, you will naturally reduce your busyness. You will hear solutions you previously overlooked. You and your team now have the opportunity to find the right resources, delegate to the right person, focus and build on ideas that can save time and money, and motivate each other to take initiatives. All because you started to listen!
Communication is everything. If you’re unable to listen and hear what others are saying, you and everyone around you loses!
10 Tips to Slow Down and Listen
1.Engage Others. It’s everyone’s responsibility to set an example of how to listen. Ask questions for clarification. Get feedback on agreements to ensure everyone is on the same page (e.g., “I just want to be sure we’re on the same page, could you tell me what we’ve agreed to do? What’s our next step?”)
2.Shorter Is Better. Attention spans today have grown shorter. Put together short agendas for all meetings, whether they’re one-on-one, team or otherwise. Stay on point when sharing your thoughts. When you need to disrupt wandering minds, make a bold statement. This will bring people back to the conversation.
3.Focus on the Topic. One reason people stop listening is that the conversation goes off topic. Every team member is responsible for staying on point. When the conversation goes off-track, restate the purpose for the meeting and summarize the most recent comments. Be aware, however: when you are too strict and don’t allow detours, you may miss the off-the-wall comments that can improve morale, generate new ideas and create possible solutions.
4.Repeat. There are times you’ll need to repeat yourself. While those listening may get annoyed, it’s important for everyone to be on the same page. For example, say, “I am going to repeat what I just said (or have been saying) to make sure we’re all on the same page.”
5.Set Aside Your Fears. Fear of hearing a differing opinion is the No. 1 reason people fail to listen. Instead of being fearful and checking out, listen to find common ground. It’s easier than you think. And, you will learn something new from others.
6.Use Silence. There will be times when others are not listening or are engaging in side conversations. Instead of being frustrated, stop talking and use silence to wait them out.
7.Minimize Distractions. Take responsibility for setting up the room so that everyone is seated at the table and can be easily heard. Have a basket at the door to collect everyone’s electronic gadgets. A University of Michigan study has shown that laptops are also a distraction. Make sure paper and pens are available.
8.Deal with Ramblers. Be patient when people ramble on. They have been rehearsing their concerns for a while. Asking them questions midpoint will only cause them to start over at the beginning. Instead, gently guide them by asking, “Your point is …?” “How can we help you?” “What do you need from us?”
9.Be Aware of Trigger Points. When you are about to make a statement that others may not want to hear, soften it by saying, “You may not like what I’m about to say, and …” Remember, different people and company cultures will have different triggers.
10.Manage Critical Thinking. Problem- solving processes require talking, listening and using conflict resolution skills. Remember, 90% of the information required to create a solution resides in other people’s heads, not on the Internet! Listen and engage everyone when generating ideas and brainstorming outcomes. Then, and only then, design action plans.
Implementing these 10 tips will make you responsible for getting others to listen. Having everyone follow these tips will create unimaginable results.
©Jeannette Seibly, 2018
Need a speaker or facilitator to successfully address company issues? How many of the 10 tips have you been ignoring? How is that impacting your 2018? Contact Jeannette Seibly. She will provide confidential, laser-focused coaching that works!
Jeannette Seibly has been called a catalyst. She is celebrating 25 years as a business coach, advisor and consultant who guides her clients to achieve unprecedented results. Remember, everyone has a voice! Listen, engage and build solutions together. Check out her website , or contact Jeannette for a free confidential conversation.