James asks: I’ve received feedback several times in the past that listening is one of my strengths. However, a colleague recently suggested I attend listening training. I have a lot going on at the moment, but is listening training the answer?
Tawny Lees, COO responds:
If you are like most of our clients, you face a great deal of pressure and demand on your time. Perhaps you have taken on a new role or have been tasked with an important initiative. Without realizing it, you might be encountering moments of distraction that prevent you from being fully present and listening as well as you would normally. Before you pursue listening training, try these tips before your next meeting:
- Become present. Before your meetings, take 5-6 deep belly breaths. Take a moment to get clear on the focus areas for the discussion.
- In the conversation, keep your focus on others as you listen. Try to match their pace, tone and energy.
- Repeat back key words said to demonstrate you are listening.
These resources might also be helpful:
- Huffington Post Article: Eden Kowalski, 3 Simple Ways to be More Mindful at Work
- Harvard Business Review Blog Post: Ram Charan, The Discipline of Listening
- Harvard Business Review Blog Post: Marshall Goldsmith, Look Like You’re Listening