“Listening is a magnetic and strange thing, a creative force. The friends who listen to us are the ones we move toward. When we are listened to, it creates us, makes us unfold and expand.” – Karl A. Menninger
Active listening will determine your success as a leader and a human, even in our technology-driven society. Are you respecting each person that is speaking? Are you actively leaned in with an attitude of appreciation?
Here are a few things to keep in mind:
1. Put Your Phone Away
I was recently in a restaurant that offered free dessert if everyone at a table would agree to put their phones in a basket for the duration of the meal. It is a brilliant idea on the restaurant’s end, but it is an incredibly sad rule to have to create. One of the things that will help us to be active listeners is putting our phones and technology away each time we interact with someone, even when we aren’t coaxed to do so with free desserts.
2. Use a Pen and Paper
I do not assume people at meetings are any different than I am, which means even if they have good intentions to take notes with a digital device, what they really do is start checking their social media and emails. They may be in the room, but they are not in the meeting.
I think we have to require the use of a pen and paper in our own lives and leadership, but also on our teams. The data is clear: The retention of knowledge is far greater if you write something down versus using a digital device.
[bctt tweet=”When you are listening actively you are telling others that they are important.” username=”ronkitchens”]
3. Approach Meetings With an Attitude of Respect
This goes a step beyond listening and knowledge retention. When you are listening actively, you are telling others that they are important and that you value what they have to say. We have all, unfortunately, had meetings where we walk out afterward feeling dishonored and discouraged. What a terrible thing to ever feel, especially when caused by someone’s inability to listen and be present.
Question: In which area of your life (family, friends, business, etc.) do you need to be better at actively listening?