“Whoever has ears, let them hear” (Matthew 13:9)
It is well-known that successful people in business and in top positions have enhanced listening skills. Whether this is cause or effect is unknown, but the fact remains that this quality along with others contributes to overall success. First, the ability to listen is one of the most effective ways to expand knowledge and to better understand the needs of others — subordinates, colleagues, clients. Second, a good listener enhances the importance of the interlocutor, thereby giving him a compliment without words. If the ability to listen is currently not one of your distinguishing features, it does not mean that it can not be acquired. Our academy has created special training in listening skills however here are some tips for you in the event you wish to develop this skill by yourself.
1. Listening skills are based on openness and curiosity to new experiences, to people and to new events. Think of babies who eagerly absorb each new sound. To remember how children accomplish this, take time every day to work with sounds. Sit down in a comfortable position and start listening to everything that happens around you — the door, steps, portions of speech, the noise of trees, the birds’ singing, car signals and so on. Believe me, the world is full of sounds! Start with a 60-second exercise and increase by a minute every day until you reach a 15-minute interval, then stay at this level and continue practicing. This is also a wonderful way to relax!
2. Choose a time when you can afford to stay silent (preferably for a period of at least half-a day). Try to ensure that this day does not interfere with your work or other important events keeping in mind the focus of this exercise is learning to remain silent while awake. Practice this exercise once a week or once every two weeks and adjust the intensity to suit yourself. Inform your social circle in advance about your exercise explaining that your communication with them will be by correspondence only.
3. If you seem impatient while listening to others and have a tendency to interrupt, keep a small object at hand, it can be a ring on your hand, your business card or even a cell phone. The purpose of this object is that it will serve as your personal alarm clock. Before starting a conversation, put this object in your hands, feeling its sharp angles, temperature and its texture.
4. After any conversation, ask yourself the following — What did I learn? Make a rule for yourself that you will generate something new from each conversation. This technique has an inherent and powerful effect whereby in order to learn something new you need to ask more questions which is in turn develops active listening skills and empathy.