Wrapping up a series of workshops on re-engaging and reconnecting in today’s challenging environment, one of the most important lessons we covered was how to listen with intent.
Participants admitted they were not good listeners. Being in leadership positions, they were mostly talkers and “fixers.” If someone came to them to talk about an issue, they would focus on resolving that issue and not on listening to what was being said.
(By the way, “listening” lessons also apply to “reading,” as in emails, texts, and other written messages.)
Distractions get in the way every time, of course. What keeps you from being able to listen intently? Noises outside your office? Noises inside your head?
Thoughts can be just as intrusive as outside distractions. Worries about safety, health concerns, schedule pressures, and business sustainability are just a few of the noises that keep you from focusing on another person as a human being who needs you to listen.
Try this: As the other person speaks, develop a mental image of what they are telling you. For example, if a customer says she received a product of yours that was not the color she ordered, picture her initial excitement on opening the package that finally arrived and then her frustration on seeing that it was red instead of blue.
Staying focused on the details of her story will help keep those distractions at bay and will also help you develop a greater sense of empathy for her situation.
Remember, listening is the culmination of reconnecting in the REAL world as you:
- Show Respect
- Display Empathy
- Pay close Attention
- Listen with intent.
Let me know if you and your team need help with that.
Are your words working for you?