Are you an active listener?
Imagine the scene. Someone organizes a meeting. An agenda is
provided. You have senior leaders of the company in the room. The topic is of
high importance and comes during a particularly hectic and stressful week.
Is anybody really listening to the conversation?
Check these signs to
see if you are guilty of any of these indicators that you aren’t present?
Is your iPhone in your
hand and used during the meeting?
Do you speak before
you even get a chance to think, process the comments and make certain that you
are adding something necessary to the conversation?
Are you focused on
your to do list or the next meeting instead of where you are?
Although you are physically present, is your attention and mind with you?
Here are a few tips to improve your listening skills. Some
are obvious and others may surprise you.
1. LAST SPEAKER: Be the last person
to comment on the topic at hand. Wait until everyone else speaks.
2. 15 SECOND RULE: Wait at least 15
seconds when you are called on to speak- to gather your thoughts and make sure
you know what you want to say.
3. DON'T TOUCH: Do not pick up your phone. Leave it in front of you on
silent or vibrate so you can see if an emergency call comes in but don’t allow yourself
to touch it during the sessions. Only check your email once per hour. (I know its hard but you'll survive)
4. BREATH: Take deep breathes at least once every 15 minutes during
the meeting to make you conscious of your breathing and mindful of being in the
5. PAY ATTENTION TO DETAILS: Notice a detail about each speaker so you are
concentrating on them. It can be the color of a shirt or the pen they are
holding. By focusing on a detail you are also putting your attention toward
what they are saying.
6. SUMMARIZE WHAT YOU HEAR: Take notes that summarizes strongly held points of view-
not minor comments. Jim really believes we should switch distributors because
of a conflict. Mary urged the team not to move to quickly on this decision
without talking in person the distributor. Anne seemed ambivalent about the
decision either way since she thinks the bigger problem relates to our product’s
7. ALIGN AND REPEAT: When you do speak, an active listener will say things like, "this is what I have heard so far....Jim believes this, Mary believes that and Anne appears ambivalent. This restating helps you align what you heard with the speaker's intention.
8. ASK A QUESTION: When you are actively listening, you are able to understand subtle aspects of an argument. You hear in an inflection some willingness to compromise, to shift positions or to consider more information. Active listeners succeed because they see new paths forwards. Consider a question instead of a statement when it is your turn to talk.
9. DON'T GO TO THE MEETING
If you are struggling with paying attention during a
meeting, perhaps you shouldn’t attend. Sometimes it is important to get clarity
about where you need to spend your time. Perhaps your distraction is well-placed and your attention needs to be on another more important issue. Just say no.
|Don't Go to Meetings When You Can't Pay Attention|
Listening is about being present in the moment. Your past is
gone. The future hasn’t arrived. All you have is the moment. By listening and
being self-conscious of what is going on right now you and your colleagues will
benefit with better actions.
|40 years ago|
I am a marketing
professional with over 30 years of experience creating success. If you enjoy
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Labels: Active listening, listening skills, Marketing Moments, meetings