On a scale of 1-10, where 1 is rubbish and 10 is the tops, how good are you at listening? I mean really listening, as in paying attention to what you're hearing.
I was bought up in a family of big talkers and mostly poor listeners which I only realised when I began to visit friends’ homes and noticed that conversations were different. I saw that talk could flow and follow a thread from one person to another; not at all like the disjointed, competitive jumble of words I was used to. Sometimes there was even silence, something I had never encountered at home.
Communications was to be – and is – key to my work and life, so a big learning curve was needed for me to ensure this part of my comms mix wasn’t overpowered by my love of talking.
I’m not a natural listener, so understanding learning and practicing is needed to make sure I get it right. The person I look to for the some of the best advice is Julian Treasure – a good place to start to learn more is his TED talk – 5 ways to listen better.
And in his book Sound Business, Julian gives a practical guide to planning and managing sound for increased productivity and profit in all aspects of business/work surrounds.
Here are few things to consider to listen better
- focus your thoughts on what is being said
- ask questions and respond carefully to the answers
- resist interrupting, finishing sentences or changing the subject
- put yourselves in his/her shoes – empathise
- use your voice, smile and nod to indicate interest
- don’t stand over someone – it they are sitting you sit too at the same level
My scale is listening is still nowhere near a ranking of 10 but I reckon it's over the half way mark. Let me know what you think: I’ll be sure to listen….