Listen Carefully

June 23rd, 2014 by Kelly Kienzle


How many workshops on listening and speaking have you attended in your career? How many books and articles have you read on how to be more effective in your communication skills?

If the number is something greater than the number of vacation days you’ve had in the last 12 months, then here is one single tip on how to make those conversations more effective. (Plus a nudge to go to TripAdvisor and book a trip this summer – – anywhere.)

The tip is simply to listen carefully. Yes, you’ve probably heard that or read that in one of your workshops or books. But here’s the test to give yourself after you think you have listened carefully to the other person:

Do you now view them in a slightly different way than you did before the conversation?

If you do not, then make a commitment to listen carefully and without prejudice or historical memory the next time you talk with them. For just the 10 minutes that you talk with them, throw out all of your old stories, grudges, apprehensions and assumptions about them. Just listen to what words they choose, what tone they use and for what is most important to them.

If you can hear them in a slightly different way than you did before, then you will be better able to solve the problem or challenge that the two of you face. If you now view them differently, then you’ll now be working with a slightly different person. It’s a way to start fresh with someone and see how you can be aligned with one another.

Now, listen carefully here: If you have not taken off more than 5 consecutive days in the last year, please go book that flight now. I plan to.

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