Effective Listening Equals Effective Leadership
http://Publish101.com Fr*e-Content Article Distributed by Publish101
You have permission to publish this article electronically
or in print, free of charge, as long as the bylines are
included. A courtesy copy of your publication would be
appreciated - send to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Title: Effective Listening Equals Effective Leadership
Word Count: 756
Author: Wendy Maynard
Article URL: www.submityourarticle.com/articles/easypublish.php?art_id=1635
The article is preformatted to 60CPL.
Effective Listening Equals Effective Leadership
Copyright 2005 Kinesis, Inc.
No matter what role you play in your company, becoming a
more effective listener will help you get ahead in your
position. It means fewer errors, improved accuracy, and
enhanced working relationships. And, listening to your
customers and referral sources will definitely help you in
your marketing efforts. You will solicit better information
from other people whether interviewing job candidates,
solving work problems, or working to make a sale.
Contrary to what many people think, being an effective
listener is not a passive activity. It takes concentration,
effort, and active attention. Because our brains work much
faster than our ability to speak, we often jump way ahead
of the speaker in our minds and miss the opportunity to
fully understand a person's feelings, position, and
perspective. Environmental distractions or personal biases
can also interfere with our ability to understand what a
person is saying.
When listening, you are giving a gift of your time and
attention to the other person. Work to respond both
verbally and non-verbally to the person who is speaking.
This lets the speaker know that you are listening and that
you understand what he or she is trying to communicate.
Here are some ideas to help you hone your listening skills:
1. Don’t Talk. This may seem self-evident. However, many
people listen with impatience. They are just waiting for
their chance to speak, or worse yet they interrupt. Be
courteous and give your listener your full attention. Avoid
offering solutions if the speaker is expressing a problem.
2. Listen Fully. A good listener looks interested in what
the speaker is saying. Your body language speaks volumes.
Maintain eye contact, sit still, lean slightly toward the
speaker, and nod your head (but not too vigorously or
you’ll look like a chicken!).
3. Ask Clarifying Questions. Wait for the speaker to pause,
and ask clarifying questions. It’s a good idea to
paraphrase what the speaker has said and to ask questions
such as, “Did you mean…” or “If I understand correctly, you
4. Provide Feedback. Remain engaged in what the speaker is
saying and show this verbally. He or she will appreciate
the occasional “I see...” or “Really?” or “I know!”
5. Keep Your Mind Open. The point of listening is to gain
new information. Don’t just search for a point that
supports your own opinions. Be willing to gain new insights
and learn about someone else’s ideas.
6. Be on the Same Level. Make sure you are at eye level
with the other person. Avoid having an employee or customer
stand in front of your desk. Have comfortable chairs
available so that a desk is not a barrier between you.
7. Respect Your Speaker. If the conversation involves
criticism from either party or contains personal
information, go to a private room for the discussion. Make
sure other people can't listen to your discussion. This
will help the speaker feel more at ease and demonstrate
your respect for what he or she has to say.
8. Pay Attention to Cues. What isn't being said is often as
important than what is being said. Body language speaks
volumes. Watch the speaker's facial expressions, posture,
eyes, gestures, and other nonverbal cues.
9. Avoid Invalidating Language. While you may not agree
with what the speaker is saying, avoid defensive statements
or phrases that argue with his or her points. Later, you
can take time to review what was said and formulate a
response. As an active and effective listener, your role is
to allow the person the time and space to fully express his
or her feelings.
10. Express Appreciation. Thank the listener for sharing
his or her thoughts and feelings. It takes courage to speak
up. True sharing builds trust and encourages further
It takes time and energy to become a better listener. Be
patient. As you begin to improve your listening skills, you
may be surprised to find people will seek you out to share
their thoughts and feelings. You will also find yourself
involved in fewer conflicts and be perceived as a more
positive and trustworthy person. Attentive listening is a
rare skill that people respect and welcome.
ACTION ITEM: This week, concentrate on your listening
skills. Do you finish sentences for others? Do you
interrupt? Do you sneak looks at your watch? Pay attention
to your listening habits and begin to bring conscious
attention to improving these skills. Work to show others
that you hear and understand them.
About the Author:
Wendy Maynard, your friendly marketing maven, is the owner
of Kinesis. Kinesis specializes in marketing, graphic and
website design, and business writing. Visit
www.kinesisinc.com/articles for more articles.
Want to harness the power of kinetic marketing? Sign up for
Kinesis Quickies, a free bi-monthly marketing e-newsletter:
Visit Wendy's marketing blog, "Kinetic Ideas" at: