Shut the #%$^ Up and Listen!

Growth mindset Respect


The children’s book “Go the F**k to Sleep” has gone viral. So I thought I’d piggy back on the title to see if I might get your attention. Receiving versus transmitting is so important. However we are often so driven to communicate our view, we can get lost talking instead of listening. The following is a replay of a Huffington Post blog by Marty Zwilling with practical wisdom:

“Check to see if you are practicing the key disciplines of listening, as outlined by Brian Tracy in No Excuses: the Power of Self-Discipline:

  • Listen attentively. Listen as though the other person is about to reveal a great secret or the winning lottery number and you will hear it only once. Since you always pay attention to what you most value, when you pay close attention to another person, you tell that person that they are of great value to you. You will be remembered.
  • Pause before replying. When you pause, you avoid the risk of interrupting the other person if they are reformulating their thoughts. It also enables you to hear not only what was said, but what was not said. Then you can respond with greater awareness and sensitivity.
  • Ask for clarification. Never assume that you automatically know what the other person is thinking or feeling. It is when you ask questions and seek clarity that you demonstrate that you really care about what he or she is saying, and that you are genuinely interested in understanding how he or she thinks and feels.
  • Feed it back. The acid test of listening is to see if you can paraphrase what you heard in your own words. It is only when you can repeat back what the other person has just said, in your own words, that you prove you are really listening, and understood the message. For all feedback, be sure to mirror the other person’s pace and communication style.

Even good communicators average only about half their time listening. Yet experts assert that most people listen with only about 25 percent of their attention, hear about 25 percent of what is said, and after two months, remember only half of that. That’s not effective communication.

There are also things you can do to encourage others to listen to you, when you do speak, to improve the overall communication:

  • Lower voice, no emotion. This causes the other party to listen more carefully, and facilitates a more pleasant and more effective conversation.
  • Adapt to listener interests. Use analogies and terminology that are easy for the other person to relate to, and they will respond with attention and higher comprehension.
  • Choose the right environment. Wait for the right opportunity, when you can be easily heard and understood, and the listener is in the right mood.
  • Address people by name. This gets their attention and focus. Sometimes it helps to bring others into the conversation to support your input.”

This information is likely not news to you but it may be a good reminder. Here is what might help turning better listening into a habit. If you could work on just two things of the above, try doing the following:

Character Move :

  1. Before you comment with your view, make it a habit to ask a genuine clarification question or paraphrase your understanding. You will become a master communicator if you make this a sincere part of your dialogue.
  2. Be present. Let the person(s) know that you are there to listen and understand. Do not wander off or let your electronic gadgets distract you. People will respect that you have given yourself to them. This is important whether you are talking to people above or below you in rank.

Listen in the Triangle,