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Listen In Case We're Wrong...

Every argument contains at least one misunderstanding.Why?So often we are in such a hurry to express ourselves that we don't pay attention to what someone else is saying. Or, we confuse style with content. When we find someone's personality abrasive it's easy to disregard anything they have to offer. Right, or wrong.I learned the hard way that none of us ever has the complete picture. Even when our opinion is correct, it is incomplete. Until we see a more complete picture (we may never know all of the details) we would do well to stay curious. Every argument starts with misunderstandings, and usually stays there. What if we dug deeper? What if we did stay curious? What if we're wrong - how will we know unless we listen?-- doug smith

Video: Four Words - Tom Peters

In this brief video, Tom Peters explains two key ideas: 18 seconds (the average time before a doctor interrupts a patient) and four words (a powerful way to keep you listening.)



Listen Without Judging

Listening seems easy until you try it without judging.

We're trained to judge from an early age. We judge nearly everything. We like it, we don't like it, we have our reasons our logic our standards and so we judge. Like a celebrity judge on a talent show we judge with confidence and assurance that of course we are right and entitled to judge. Completely.

And yet -- what is the point? Do you know anyone who wants your judgement? Do YOU desire anyone else's judgment?

Go ahead and judge if you want to, if you must. Here's what I know: if you truly want to listen, listen without judging. Listen with curiosity, as if you don't know the answer already.

Because maybe, just maybe, you don't.

And, by listening without judgment, you might actually hear.

-- doug smith


Listening Is A Survival Skill

Are you an active listener? An active listener makes listening for understanding the focus of a conversation. You'll have plenty of time to express yourself. First, listen.

Listening is a survival skill.

I have never regretted listening to understand before responding. Plenty of times I have regretted speaking too soon. Listening can keep you out of trouble. That conclusion you jumped to? Perhaps a moment more of listening would have clarified the situation.

That insult you didn't intend? Could more listening have alerted you to a sensitive area in your conversational partner?

That breach of etiquette, that spilling of confidential information, that career limiting rant -- so many communication mistakes can be prevented by curious listening.

If you want to communicate for results, you have to first know what your audience hears. You get there by listening. Listening to the words, the tone, the body language, the in-between-the-lines nuances of emotions.

Listening is a survival…

Powerful Silence

I often quote Susan Scott ("Fierce Conversations") who said, "Let silence do the heavy lifting." It's powerfully useful. Those awkward silences are times to think, times to process, times to remain curious.

Today I'd like to add this:


We rush to fill the silence. We awkwardly walk away. We miss the silent opportunity. It's not a time to hurry, it's a time to remain mindful. Be there. Process. Listen. Our first reactions are often less than optimal. Let your thinking and your emotions percolate. Let them brew. Explore, discover, something that might be new.

Silence is too powerful to waste. Use the gift that it brings.

-- doug smith

Listen Thru The Quiet

Sometimes it's quiet. Sometimes no one is talking. Listen anyway. Listen with your eyes. Listen with your body. Listen with your heart.

Quiet may not even mean what you think, so listen. Let the silence sing a song you eventually understand.

Silence is your friend. It's a great place to rest and listen.

Listen in the silence -- you might be surprised at what you hear.

-- doug smith


Paraphrase

Do you paraphrase when you're listening?

Communication is a two-way dynamic. It's so easy to assume that we're being understood. More often than not, the door to misunderstanding is open wider than we know. People read between the lines. Attention wanders. We make stuff up.


It's so important to understand. I don't think we can ever reach a meaningful and fair agreement with someone UNTIL we understand them. Completely. Clearly. Without a hidden agenda or misrepresentation.

I will do my best to paraphrase someone I am in dialogue with so that I can clarify MY misunderstandings and help them make their meaning clear. I crave that understanding.

How about you? Are you actively paraphrasing the people you listen to?

I don't know what you've heard until you tell me.

What do you think?

-- Doug Smith


That Awesome Gift of Listening

"The greatest motivational act one person can do for another is to listen."
-- Roy Moody

How would your work and your life be different if everyone you encountered listened carefully, compassionately, and attentively to each other?

It seems so simple, yet it's not. Listening takes focus. Listening takes attention. Listening positively takes curiosity.

How curious are you when you listen?

Here's what I'm working on: listening without judging. I remember a time when I had an answer to every question, an opinion to every view, and something to say in any situation. I wasn't wise enough to know that smart wasn't always enough. We need to listen.

Listening is a gift as profound as any you might give today. Who will you give that free yet awesome gift?

-- Doug Smith


Listen Without Judging

Do you evaluate what someone is saying, while they're saying it?

Do you ever have your mind made up before someone is done talking?

I've done that. Many times. It's easy to jump to our own answers, and our own solutions before we hear the whole story.

We need to hear the whole story (or at least enough of it so that we know what the story really is).

Here's the best way that I know. Listen with curiosity. Listen without judging what the other person is saying or who they are. Listen.

To find the true causes of a problem we need to listen without judging.

It's not always easy. It takes practice. To get past our inner filters and snap judgements, it's worth the effort.

Are you willing to listen with curiosity?

-- Doug Smith

doug smith training: how to achieve your goals

Front Range Leadership: Training Supervisors for Success

What have you learned today?


Find Opportunities

When do you seize an opportunity?

Are you able to stop what you're doing long enough to work on an immediate opportunity?

Opportunities are not interested in our schedules.

They don't wait. They don't delay. They don't nestle nicely into what we have available. We either move on an opportunity when it presents itself or we watch it fly away.

Are you keeping your eyes open for opportunities today? Are you listening with curiosity?

-- Doug Smith