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Showing posts with the label listening skills

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

Listen First

How quickly do you make up your mind about whether someone is right or wrong? Is it possible that you sometimes make up your mind too quickly? It happens frequently. That proposes an additional challenge of forcing someone to defend a position before they know for sure that it's THEIR best option.

I've done it. You've probably done it, too. I've decided to turn away a sales offer that clearly could have been a benefit to me. Why? I'd made up my mind not to buy. I've also turned away great invitations just because I'd already decided to keep a time free, instead of staying open to new opportunities. The new opportunities MIGHT have been fantastic, but once I stopped listening it became impossible to tell.

How about you?

The fix to this problem is simple and easy: listen. Before you make up your mind, listen with genuine, sincere curiosity. Maybe you know, and maybe you don't -- listen.

It becomes harder to listen when we become convinced that someone is…

Hear That Volume?

People are constantly trying to communicate. We can't take for granted that we are hearing them or that we are heard. It takes concerted listening with curiosity.

When we don't put in the effort to truly listen, the message keeps coming at us. When we misunderstand the message, the message keeps coming at us.

Every time we fail to listen the volume increases.

I'm working on listening better. How about you?

-- doug smith

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…

Listen More

How much time did you spend listening today?

Mouth shut. Eyes alert. Body turned toward the person talking. Mind open to all except the inner judge. That inner judge can shut up for now, it's time to listen.

Breathless, curious, daring to wonder - listening.

Motionless, fascinated, unattached - listening.

We crave that level of listening and hardly ever receive it, so give it, give it, give it generously: listen.

I've never met anyone who thought they were listed to too much.

Give them more: listen.

-- 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


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