Improve Your Listening Skills

by Dave Jackson

When my first brood of kids got out on their own, and even before, I must confess, I heard more than once, that I was an excellent selective listener.

Naturally, I defended my position exclaiming that I was probably the best multi-tasker they would ever meet.  And I still cling to that to a degree – but I do know I can improve my listening skills.

What I shudder to think is how many opportunities I’ve missed because I just didn’t listen well enough.  There are tons of books, even websites on improving your listening skills.  These are all helpful, but I have for you the key skill you need to become an excellent listener and will teach you now.  So, listen up.  🙂

The best advice I can give you about listening is to listen attentively.  Lean towards your prospect or friend and face them squarely.  Your attention should be focused on the persons face – look right at his or her mouth and eyes.

Make sure you listen without interruption.  Remember those movie scenes where you see the actor hanging on to every word?  This is how you must be – listening to every word like you were going to be given a test on it.  Better still, think as if this person was on the verge of giving you a million dollar order.  I challenge you to listen as if there were no one else in the world to whom you would rather listen to – and to what they are saying.

OK, you’re really captivated by the person now.  But let me give you the gem that will tie this altogether.  Practice paying close, uninterrupted attention to a person when they are speaking.  This is the greatest listening skill.  And one you’ll have to work at – because it is the hardest facility to develop – but this one, my friend, is the most important of all.

It requires a lot of practice and great discipline and it’s hard to do.  Especially in this information overload day and age – we have to do all we can to keep our mind from wandering.

Let me tell you, though – the payoff is tremendous.  You will be rewarded for practicing this and you’ll get better at it.  Note that great people are good at this and you want to become a great listener.  The neat thing is that you can.  It’s a skill you’re never too old to develop.

Practice this skill and let me know if you, too, had challenges with the kids and your “selective listening”.

Talk soon,
Dave

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1 comment

Marc January 16, 2010 - 5:53 pm

You may like what I have written about listening:
http://blog.marcwong.me/2009/01/art-of-listening.html

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