If you want to significantly enhance your executive presence communication skills, practice developing a more intentional listening style.
Pretending to Listen
Try this for starters. Spend the day today paying attention to how people listen – or fail to listen. You’ll likely notice that most of them are concentrating on what they are going to say – or how they will respond – when the person they are in dialog with stops talking.
It is like they are waiting their turn in the express line at the grocery store. Their focus is just on when it will be their chance to say something. Most people do not genuinely listen to seek a deeper understanding.
Prematurely Conjuring an Answer
Instead they listen to respond and contribute their two cents. But real communication will only happen when you give your undivided attention.
I had a client a while back and I noticed that whenever I asked him coaching questions he responded instantly. That was a telltale sign that he was not pondering the question.
Genuine Hearing and Response
I was trying to get him to think deeper and take the journey of discovery and mining valuable solutions. But he wasn’t actually contemplating the question. He was doing what lots of people do and just coming up with something to say he thought I’d like to hear. His mind was working on doing that while I was still talking. No way was he listening with full attention.
Elevate Your Listening Skills
As a success coach it’s important that I address skill deficiencies, so I gently pointed out to him what he was doing and why it was blocking his progress. He took it to heart, and his development accelerated as a result of his new, more intent approach to listening.
Drill down on what they are saying. Pay close attention to their tone of voice, their choice of language, and their various nonverbal cues. All of that is key information that will serve you better as a listener – and as a leader – by informing you before you consider your response.
Leadership Means Listening
You’ll learn a great deal more and those with whom you interact will appreciate you and respect your leadership more because you’ll be perceived as one of the rare people who really listens and cares about what others have to say.
As a pioneering and visionary innovator, Sarah is a certified image master (CIM) and brand strategist, speaker, trainer and author. Her company, Illustra Consulting, provides leading-edge image and brand management strategies for top leaders and high achievers who wish to take their career to the next level. She also delivers innovative and inspiring corporate workshops to assist large organizations in strengthening their corporate brand.
Copyright © 2015, Sarah Hathorn, AICI CIM, CPBS 1-800-267-3245, [email protected]
This article may be reproduced only in it’s entirety, including the above bio.