Making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understandingProverbs 2:2
Practices attentive and active listening
Has the patience to hear people out
Can accurately restate the opinions of others even when in disagreement
Demonstrates attentiveness through body language – eye contact, good posture, hands not fidgeting, smiling, nodding or through other culturally relevant ways
“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.”
– Stephen R. Covey
Does not listen well – loses focus easily
Cuts people off and finishes their sentences if they pause or hesitate
Interrupts to make a statement or offer a solution or decision
Does not learn much from interactions with others – only interested in being heard by others
Appears not to listen or is too busy thinking about one’s own response
Many times misses the point others are trying to make
May appear arrogant, impatient or uninterested in what others have to say
May value and thus listen to some groups/people but not to others
Is commonly inaccurate in restating what others have said
“Nothing I say this day will teach me anything. So if I’m going to learn, I must do it by listening.”
– Larry King
Causes of Weakness
Thinks too highly of oneself
Overly focused on protecting oneself from looking bad
Uninterested in the thoughts, ideas and feelings of others
Does not sufficiently value the input and ideas of others
Not willing to take the time to truly listen to others before making a decision and taking action
Believes that only certain people have relevant things to share
Too busy to take time to listen to others
“The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice.”
Review the simple application steps below and choose 1 or 2 things you can do to spur yourself on to further growth.
CHOOSE: Virtually all people are capable of listening. Usually the problem lies with choosing to listen in a given situation.
BE QUIET: Keep your mouth closed. Give appropriate eye contact. Take notes. Don’t frown or fidget. Periodically give verbal acknowledgements such as ‘yes’, or ‘ok’, or ‘uh ha’. Paraphrase what the person said and then ask if you understood correctly. Don’t interrupt.
ASK QUESTIONS: Ask probing questions to get more clarity. Ask clarifying questions. Ask confirming questions to ensure proper understanding.
SELECTIVE LISTENER? Identify in what kind of situations you don’t listen well. Who don’t you listen to? Why not? Does it ever relate to the person’s age, gender, skills, personality, intelligence, education, experience, title, ethnicity, or a type of setting (like a loud environment), or the amount of time you have? Challenge yourself to practice listening to those you don’t usually listen to. Listen for content. Separate the content from the person. Try to expect possibly valuable input from everyone.
RECEIVE NEGATIVE FEEDBACK: Shift your thinking to actually appreciate ALL feedback – and listen! Try to accurately understand what the person is trying to tell you. Your goal is not to accept or refute or even respond to what the person says. Just listen, ask questions, and paraphrase. And THANK people for their input, even when you don’t like it or you disagree with it.