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Are You Listening Enough?

If you are married or planning to get married, did you ask your "intended" to open their laptop, so they could take notes on what you are about to say?  Highly unlikely!  Yet every day in meetings everywhere laptops are open, and people are taking notes.  They tell you that they are listening and taking notes…Are they?

I am arguing for a return to good "old-fashioned" listening.  That occurs when you are listening to someone, they know you are listening, and after the meeting is over they know and remember what you said.  Here are my three recommendations: 

One, activate your listening switch.  I have a friend who has been blind virtually his entire life.  He is the owner and most important person in a large, very successful public relations agency.  He maintains he is the "world's best listener."  Because he cannot see, communication is totally what he hears.  He has been forced to fine-tune and activate his hearing.  Even if we can see, we must activate our listening switch.  When you go to a presentation, attend a meeting, or just encounter someone in a small group - make the commitment to listen!

Two, stop what you're doing.  A major part of listening is the body language of the speaker and the listener. Stop what you're doing, close your laptop, and turn off your phone.  Look at the persons who are speaking with direct eye contact.  Don't look anywhere else or at anything else.  Keep your body language connected to the other person and nod and smile appropriately.

Three, stop what you are thinking.  Keep your mind and attention focused on the other person.  Don't let your brain wander.  And if they ask you a question, wait till they finish BEFORE you start constructing your answer.  

Follow these recommendations, and you'll become known as a good listener - in business and in your personal life.

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