Why Listening is Often The Key
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"I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant." Robert McCloskey
Listening is a powerful tool. Listening is a skill. Listening is one half of communication.
* Are you a great listener?
* What does being a great listener mean?
* Why should you care?
If you acknowledge that the results of good communication require a good process of communication then to play your part in that process means being good at the two most important aspects: Talking - expressing your viewpoint with clarity and Listening - truly understanding what was expressed. Just being good at one part diminishes the value of the whole process.
Listening happens at many levels and for many people the level at which they listen will determine the value they get from their communication: in business, in their relationships and with themselves.
So what are those 4 levels? Well different people express them in different ways, so these are my 4 levels, just to get you thinking
1. I listen - I hear the words you speak
2. I listen - I translate the meaning behind the words you speak
3. I listen - I understand your meaning behind the words you speak
4. I listen - I understand your meaning, your intent and am focused only on that
At level 1 and 2 the focus is on us. The focus of the activity is on us and our view of what we think is being said. We are listening but not truly hearing or understanding.
At level 3 we start to focus on the other person. We focus on what they say, how they say it and the meaning of what they say without assumptions based on our view of the world.
At level 4 we are truly "in harmony"" at one" with the other person. At level 4 the connection, value of the communication and subsequent depth of the relationship is so much more powerful and valuable because we truly sense what is happening and can participate much more.
In his new book Presence: Exploring Profound Change in People Organisations and Society, Peter Senge along with his co authors talks about letting go and for me letting go of preconceptions, assumptions and "what I think" mindsets is what is needed for communication to really happen at anything but a superficial level.
Well so what you may ask? What does that have to do with my consultancy?
Well imagine the difference between a level 1 conversation with your clients and a level 4? How much richer could the relationship be? How better could you serve each other? How much more connected could you be? And as a result how much more business could you do together directly or indirectly.
Letting go of your need to talk, letting go of your desire to control/be in control and letting go of any preconceived notion of what might be happening, to be truly engaged and present in what someone else is saying is, in my view, a rare skill, a valuable skill and one which if we all cultivated would greatly enhance all our lives.
So let go and truly listen and let me know how you get on.
"So when you are listening to somebody, completely, attentively, then you are listening not only to the words, but also to the feeling of what is being conveyed, to the whole of it, not part of it." Jiddu Krishnamurti
About the Author
Beverley Hamilton works with independent business consultants to help them grow a profitable consultancy and still have time for their life. You can get my Free Ecourse Discover the 5 Most Common Incorrect Assumptions Independent Business Consultants Make and a complimentary subscription to Quickstart, the newsletter specifically for consultants. Go to One Step Further for more instantly accessible resources. Your future Your choice!
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