Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Get Over...Now Listen

Things move too fast, time accelerates. It’s March and I am not sure what happened to February. The faster you go the more patience you need (LTD Business Rule #10), and patience is needed to listen.

“Generous Listening” as it is noted by Larry Cone in his article Four Skills of Generous Listening at the IT toolbox Blogs. Mr. Cone mentions the four skills as; paying attention, replication, recreation and co-creation. Unfortunately in his post he only defines the first two. http://blogs.ittoolbox.com/pm/implementation/archives

Listening, much more important than speaking. Too often we are in a hurry to say what we think, to show what we know, to make the first point, to get it over with so we can move on, or we just like to listen to ourselves. Not many admit it, but there are plenty of folks that do just like to listen to themselves and it has become such a habit that they don’t realize what they are doing.

How many times have you finished someone else’s sentence? Think about that, be honest now, and it will be more than it should. In my younger years I was terrible about that. I cant say that I have completely eliminated it, but it has been significantly reduced.

Someone who is speaking deserves the courtesy to be allowed to finish their own sentence. You give them value and self worth when you patiently wait for them to finish. Try that with your spouse and your relationship will improve quickly!

A wonderful mentor of mine once told me not to let my intelligence get me into trouble. Other people don’t think as fast as you, they don’t see the whole picture the way you do and they don’t construct solutions as fast as you do, but what they have to say is as important as what you say. I must say it took too long to actually live that.

Be the last to speak and earn their respect. Try being the last to speak on a topic in a meeting. Hold out and keep it back, even if someone else puts your thought forward first, you then have the opportunity to support them and add some detail if you have it. That will show them some respect and make you a team player.

People will learn how smart you are by the wisdom and actions you demonstrate through patience and courtesy, and then give you the respect you want and have earned. Speak over them, drive your solutions first and press on aggressively and they will see you as arrogant and your ‘smart’ will be suspect.

While thinking about listening I came across a site http://www.businesslistening.com/ where there are strategies to improve your listening skills. Bruce Wilson of Wilson Strategies has put together a great site focused on leadership, relationships, conflict resolution and negotiation.

Mr Wilson states: Listening means the gathering and making sense out of information. Listening is the only way to learn how to improve your leadership, marketing and negotiating skills, your ability to motivate and your overall business performance. The time and money you save by listening effectively can make the difference between success and failure.

The section on How to Listen starts off just right, “Get Over Yourself”.

We all need to get a spray can of “Instant Humble” and squirt some on ourselves to remember that “its not about me”. The project, the new customer, the new product, the teamwork, the whatever is NOT ABOUT YOU (OR ME). We have to get over ourselves.

Larry Cone is his post “Is it What I Said, or What They Heard?” says, “I have come to the understanding that the quality of your listening determines how well you are heard”. Your commitment to hearing what others say earns you a commitment to what you want to say.http://blogs.ittoolbox.com/pm/implementation/

Even the Good Book has something to say about this. … let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger … (James 1:19)
No link here, just pick up the Book and look.

Now that we are over ourselves….. are you listening?



At 7:31 AM, Blogger Ralph said...

Good Post and point. There is too little listening and too much asserting going on. Intelligence is more than thinking quickly.

At 6:20 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remember one sentense ... "Cut the cake in little peaces". Well, I'm still trying ... sometimes too hard. Many years ago I met one of the best in listing, a person who became one of my best friends and honestly I have only two. Reading all these articles makes me proud knowning this man ... LivingTheDream ... Never forget: "Root for the good guys ... GO Astros!"


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