Think about it. When you listen, you don’t have to DO much of anything. Yes, you may ask some curiosity questions or clarifying questions, but those should come from your gut. For those moments that you are listening, you don’t have to solve problems, produce results, or manage outcomes. You just have to listen.
While such listening does not require major exertion, it can produce amazing results. Listening can:
- Provide deep learning – even those “ah-ha” moments – about people, their motives, and their motivations.
- Reveal critical intelligence about business, competitors, and the marketplace.
- Directly impact actions and relationships.
- Help facilitate the openness that is required for a learning organization.
- Permit access to what customers, prospects, and employees really think.
- Increase employee and customer satisfaction and engender trust.
- Allow leaders to ground their assessments with real data for effective decision making.
Despite the obvious benefits of listening, too many leaders do far more talking than listening. Even when they are making a show of listening, they are deliberating their next brilliant remark. All this cogitating, besides being way too much work, reduces their effectiveness.
March is International Listening Awareness Month (according to the International Listening Association).
What can you do this month to increase your listening? If you need some ideas, here is sound expert, Julian Treasure, with his TED Global talk: 5 ways to listen better.