Monday, 13 August 2007

You need to listen to learn

During a meeting last week I began a conversation with a colleague, asked questions, listened and began explaining my thoughts when I realised that his attention was focused on what another person was saying. I was annoyed but realised that not listening carefully is something I do all too frequently. Improving my listening skills has been a goal for a long time. Then on the weekend I read this:

To learn from people, you have to listen to them with respect. [It is] not as easy as you might imagine. ... The trouble with listening for many of us is that while we're supposedly doing it, we're actually busy composing what we're going to say next. ... [During] your next personal encounter, try to employ the tactics we've outlined here:

* Listen.

* Don't interrupt.

* Don't finish the other person's sentences.

* Don't say 'I knew that.'

* Don't even agree with the other person (even if he praises you, just say, 'Thank you')

* Don't use the words 'no,' 'but,' and 'however.'

* Don't be distracted. Don't let your eyes or attention wander elsewhere while the other person is talking.

* Maintain your end of the dialogue by asking questions that (a) show you are paying attention, (b) move the dialogue forward, or (c) require the other person to talk(while you listen).

* Eliminate any striving to impress the other person with how smart or funny you are. ... [You will learn, and as an ancillary benefit] you'll uncover a glaring paradox: The more you subsume your desire to shine [and truly listen], the more you will shine in the other person's eyes."

Marshall Goldsmith, What Got You Here Won't Get You There, Hyperion, Copyright 2007 by Marshall Goldsmith, pp. 148-156.


artichoke said...

Don't know where it came from but I have always quite liked - Conversation ‘a vocal competition in which the one who is catching his breath is called the listener’

Sam Grumont said...

I like this. I might use it during conversatons with teachers.