We hear “be a good listener” a lot, but how does listening help you develop your communication skills? How do you DO it anyway? We really enjoyed Mary’s practical advice for how to lead more effectively by listening and communicating more clearly. – InPower Editors
Being a great listener isn’t easy – and being the core of communication it is most important. Without listening, talking is just more noise. And we hear enough messages during the day as it is.
This is the second lesson I learned in the Art of Influence that got me to significantly change my approach to management.
- Lesson 1: Mothering isn’t a Management Technique
- Lesson 2: Influence and true leadership is communication, listening and understanding
- Lesson 3: Influence others to move blocks out of the way
- Lesson 4: Appearance really does mean a lot
Lesson 2: Influence and true leadership is communication, listening and understanding
After my experience with the momma duck/baby duck statue and the VP, I learned more about how to influence people to do what’s needed. As a project manager and consultant, I had to motivate a number of teams that I didn’t directly manage to help me on my projects. I couldn’t dictate deadlines – I had to negotiate them, which required communication skills. The teams needed to understand why a date mattered and why the project was important – what it contributed to the business. Once the teams understood this, everything fell into place.
But if someone voiced a concern to me and I interrupted her – even though I believed I understood what she was asking for – she would tell me that she didn’t feel heard and assumed that I wasn’t open to help her. It was a valid point. I changed my behavior and stopped trying to interrupt to make my points – listening to respond – and started listening to understand. It made a huge difference in my interactions with my team – and helped me build an extended team that I didn’t directly manage and only influenced. And people were more open to listen to me if I listened to them first. It was an easy trade.
It definitely isn’t easy to do. I work on my listening and communication skills every day, consciously remembering during conversations to pause, stop focusing on what I’m going to say next, and hear what the person I’m talking to is trying to communicate to me through words, voice tone and emotion. It can change the dynamics of a conversation in minutes and builds a deeper understanding between two people, allowing both to influence each other. Very powerful.
Listening is just as important as talking to communicate and influence others. – Click To Tweet
- As Stephen Covey advocated in 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, “Seek to understand, then be understood.”
- Allow influence to be mutual by listening
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