Excellent communication in your professional life is a powerful asset. Through communication you build collaborative relationships, maximize collaboration and idea-sharing, and broadcast your leadership presence. Clear and effective communication breaks down counterproductive barriers and silos, helps establish human connectivity, and ensures consistent and creative engagement. But none of that is possible without learning how to really listen, because listening is at least half – and arguably more than half – of all successful communication.
Listening is Form of Respect
We have all experienced how it feels to speak and have the person you are talking to switch into passive mode. You know their mind is elsewhere, and it’s both annoying and disrespectful. But address someone who is a great listener and you instantly feel valued, noticed, and appreciated.
Be Present in the Moment
The difference is that to truly listen you have to be fully present and really interested. You have to pay attention and understand that what other people say does matter – agree with it or not. That’s the basis of empathy, understanding – and without it there can be no collaboration or real teamwork.
Listening is a Habit You Must Drill
Anyone can become a better listener if they consciously follow a simple process and then apply it in practice, every day, as they interact with others in their business dealings or personal lives.
Listening – closely and attentively – is at least half of leadership communication. Unfortunately, too many of today’s leaders feel that all they have to do is speak, and it is the role of others to listen to them. But those who learn to listen have a powerful skill that will invite success both professionally and personally.
There are five basic techniques that I will share with you in Part II of this article, and they are all based on the principles we discussed here of being focused and 100% present as you participate in conversations from the listening side of the dialog.
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]
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