We are stronger when we listen,
and smarter when we share.
I think if I were to ask a large group of people about the subject of doing exercises to become a better listener, few would tell me they’d thought about it. But I think these same people would mostly agree with the statement; we are stronger when we listen. The key word is here is stronger, and indeed there are exercises to help us become better listeners.
Let’s start with the benefits of becoming a better listener before we look at the how exercises can help us become stronger when we listen. There is little debate that businesses thrive when they excel at communication both with their customers and internally with their employees. And there also is little debate that most businesses have room to raise the level of their listening proficiency.
Stronger listening leads to a myriad of benefits that easily could cover this page, but here are 5 I think will be easy for everyone to relate to. Think of them from the point of view of both the speaker and the listener. If you can’t relate to these 5 benefits of better listening then I guess I’ll have to do more listening exercises. 🙂
- Expands What We Know
- More Rewarding Interactions
- Increased Efficiency In Problem Solving
- Grows Trust And Respect
- Bolsters Customer Relationships
You cannot truly listen to anyone
and do anything else at the same time.
M Scott Peck
- Put yourself in the right space to listen. When we bring our awareness to a task and set our intention on the path forward, which in this case is listening it becomes easier to ignore distractions and focus. Do some quick relaxation exercises before the meeting and remind yourself of the importance of listening.
- Connect with the person speaking. Let the speaker know you’re listening by keeping eye contact (don’t stare) and adding nods and smiles when they fit. In other words; if you’re engaged with the speaker and the topic it will be apparent to the group and the speaker.
- Leave your assumptions at the door. Bring a clean slate and open mind to the meeting. Forget what you know (or think you know) about the speaker or the subject and let the experience of listening wash over you as if you’re hearing the subject for the first time. Give the speaker a break.
- Look for pearls to appear. Try taking notes of useful and new points the speaker shares in the presentation.
- Always Empathize. The best listening exercise is to listening to someone like you’d like them to listen to you. Put yourself in their shoes and situation while they are speaking.
The above 5 tips for improving your listening muscles will open up whole new levels of communication success within your team, your group as well as in personal relationships. I’ve add a short video below that I hope will fire up your thinking about listening and make you smile at the same time. and remember that we all are stronger when we listen to each other.
Listening Is an Act of Love from StoryCorps on Vimeo.
Directed by: The Rauch Brothers
Art Direction: Bill Wray
Producers: Lizzie Jacobs & Mike Rauch
Animation: Tim Rauch
Audio Produced by: Michael Garofalo, Nadia Reiman, & Katie Simon
Music: Nick Yulman
Check out the Listening Creates Blog for some really great images with quotes that you are free to share around the web.