Listen ... and Profit
By Michael Kelly
On your path to excellence, finely honed listening skills are integral
to your progress.
Listening is not just waiting for your turn to talk.
Strong and concentrated listening can save you time, money and
The benefits can be substantial.
Here are three practical and powerful strategies to improve your
listening and help propel you to more success.
1. Withhold judgement and get curious. Premature judgement is a
significant barrier to being an excellent listener. We judge people on
what they say, on how they look and on how they sound.
If you withhold judgement you can learn very valuable things from all
sorts of people. When you listen, think like this. 'Everyone knows
something I don't know . . . my job is to listen long enough to find what
that information is, and then use it.'
2. Plan to listen. Identify the 20 people who are most important
to your business and listen to them at a highly focussed level. Put the
names of those people on a piece of paper or in your diary. Put the list
in your line of gaze at your desk or where you can readily access the
list. Revise the list often.
Listening at this focussed level is really stepping into the other
person's shoes. This type of listening can take significant energy so use
it selectively with people on your most important list.
Choosing the most important 20 people doesn't mean you can't listen
well to other people. You can also change the names on the list and have a
list for your work, and for your away from work life.
3. When you listen to someone . . . don't be anywhere else. You
never get a second chance to listen to someone the first time. If
you're daydreaming, that might be the precise moment the person is sharing
You can also use prompts to help you be in the moment. If you bring a
notepad to meetings refer to it as your 'Listening pad'. Use a specific
pen for meetings and refer to it as your 'Listening pen'.
Your listening is a skill that can be developed with practice to become
a very profitable tool. Remember this Scottish verse.
"His thoughts were slow, his words were few, and never formed to
glisten. But he was a joy for all his clan . . . for you should have heard
About the author: Michael Kelly teaches “Speak
& Listen for New Results”. He is a media commentator, keynote
speaker and seminar leader. Delighted blue chip corporate clients
including Icon Recruitment, Credit Suisse, First Boston and Pfizer.
Michael is the director of Kelly Speech Communication. He has a clear
insight into powerful speaking and listening techniques – to help his
clients keep on winning more business and achieving fresh results in their
careers and their lives. Visit http://www.kellyspeech.com.au
for more information.
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