A Meeting of the Minds: Learning to Truly Listen

speak-238488_1280When someone is talking, how often are people not really listening but rather just waiting for their chance to say what they know? “Hurry up and finish,” they are thinking, “because I’m the one with something profound to say.” That’s listening to respond versus listening to understand. The latter requires you to put your agenda to the side, listen to what the other person is saying, and pause to gather your thoughts or let the other person reflect. Then, you can ask a question or perhaps say something more pertinent to the conversation.

Step One: Drop Your Agenda.

What if for the next client that walks into your office, you listened to what they were saying without thinking of what product to offer them? Truly listen for what they are seeking. When you can authentically meet their needs by practicing sound listening skills, you have opened the door for positive influence in your life, and theirs. True leadership involves the ability to drop your own agenda and truly focus on others, listening to understand them, not just waiting until you get an opening to respond.

Step Two: Implement the 4th Rule of Improv.

When actors are in a scene, the goal is to perform the task at hand. But you have no idea what is in your partner’s head. As the back and forth continues, you must play off of what the other person has brought to the table. In order to do that, you must listen and understand what they are saying. Business conversations are no different! The better you listen and adapt to the way the situation is unfolding, the better you make your colleagues and partners look. The better they look, they better you look.

When you listen to what others are saying to you instead of thinking of what you will say next, you will unlock potential you never knew was there. Not only will that particular conversation go better, but you’ll also find that your business and personal relationships grow as a result of the trust you’re developing.

Are you ready to form better relationships and create greater positive results in your business?