Who’s Talking and Who’s Listening?

Listening with Two Ears is one of the most profitable skills I have adopted and continue to develop.
In fact, listening with my full attention has helped me to improve my understanding of the words and messages, circling around this fast, rotating, corkscrew planet we are gravitated towards. With my mouth closed and both ears open, I can give my full focus to the words and expressions being communicated.
I am not getting ready to respond.
I am not preparing a ready-made answer, including looking for solutions or jumping to conclusions.
I am simply listening and absorbing what is being said.

Now, let me tell you…it is skill that is accomplished over time and some dedicated time too. I am still crafting my art of listening.
By no means, am I a Mistress of Listening.
You will laugh at my first lesson.

Close my mouth and keep it closed, and keep the ears open.

I know that sounds contradictory for Speakers like you and me. But when I understood deeply, that I really had to batten down my lips and sharpen my ears, I discovered a whole new bunch of tools.
If you ask your friends and colleagues what do they appreciate about a good listener, most people will give you these 3 points.

  1. Someone who doesn’t interrupt.
  2. The listener is looking at you, not the phone or another woman or man!
  3. They give you those all important re-assuring noises like, hmm and uh huh.

My first taste of Practical Listening Skills was back in 2011, when I joined a local club of Toastmasters International. https://www.toastmasters.org/
I soon found out it wasn’t all talk.  They asked me to do a 3-minute evaluation of a member’s speech, and I had to say more than ‘I like it’ over and over again.
Gradually, I learned the Art of Listening with both ears open and my mind focused only on the speaker.
If you are like me, and you speak fast and think quick, it is easy to come up with answers or worse judgements and solutions.
It was a challenge I had to turn into an opportunity. Let me share with you this quote by Baba Ram Dass: ‘The quieter you become, the more you can hear.’

Itzik Amiel has an excellent book about mastering the Art of Attention. In his Book ‘The Attention Switch’ http://www.attentionswitch.com/
He states: ‘One of the most under-appreciated networking skills that you can easily master is the ability to listen. Good listening is active not passive.’

Next time you are in conversation with some one you love or like, or your boss or even the person sitting next to you at a conference, try to give them your full listening attention.
Apply the basic skills. Don’t interrupt, look them in the eye and don’t let your mind wander.

On the courses at Step Up & Stand Out, I shall be paying super focused attention on You.
Don’t forget, my Friends, I have a little box that you can click on so we can Talk.

Thanks for Listening!