By: Lynn Townsend, Agora Strategic Advisor April 16, 2021
How would you rate yourself as a listener? Poor? Good? Great? Maybe you’re thinking: Listen? Who has time to listen!?
During my career, I have had colleagues thank me for modeling great listening skills, and am humbled when I receive this feedback. Do I really listen well? I am juggling so many things, just like you. I require a lot of informational input and sensory stimulation, so I often label myself with a short attention span. How’s yours?
With busyness and distractions, what then are the keys to great listening? I have found three tips to help me listen well: A.R.T. (Attitude, Response, and Tact).
Attitude: Slow down. Set distractions aside. Focus on the other person. Be curious. Face the other person with a posture that is heart to heart. Ask questions. What can you learn about and from the other person?
Response: Like a ‘fishing story’ where the size of the fish gets bigger with tale, avoid the desire to one-up their story. Don’t compare your story to their story. Don’t be thinking of your response at the expense of your attention to their words. Instead, restate what you heard them say, and reply with something like “that’s interesting, I like when you said…” or “tell me more, I like that” in a reassuring, respectful, and uplifting response.
Tact: Don’t take the other person’s comments personally. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Be calm and carry on. End with an up note such as “I really enjoyed this”.
Amid the busyness and distractions, I challenge you to practice the A.R.T. of great listening.
Please comment and tell us what you learned, or what you do to listen better!