Many of our communication skills seminars involve practical listening activities, and occasionally we get requests solely for listening skills. But it’s arguably wrong to see listening as one of many “communication skills” – listening is so much more fundamental than that. Listening builds trust, strengthens relationships, and resolves conflicts. It’s fundamental in everything we do. In a HBR article “the discipline of listening”, Ram Charan shared what many of us already know: Not every manager is a great listener. Charan’s own “knowledge of corporate leaders’ 360-degree feedback indicates that one out of four leaders has a listening deficit, “the effects of which can paralyze cross-unit collaboration, sink careers, and if it’s the CEO with the deficit, derail the company.” Good managers need to know how to listen – and great managers know how to listen well. And because we know you’re busy we’ve taken the time to find 3 TEDx talks for you listen to.
William Ury is the co-author of “Getting to Yes”, the bestselling negotiation book in the world. This is a great video exploring what genuine listening really is, why it’s so important and how to take our first steps to improving our listening. He explains why he feels that listening is “the golden key to opening doors to human relationships” and why the skill of listening needs to be actively practiced every day. Ury uses stories of conversations with presidents and business leaders to show the simple power of listening: how it helps us understand the other person, how it helps us connect and build rapport and trust, and how it makes it more likely that you’ll be listened to too.
The Power of Deliberate Listening with Ronnie Polaneczky
Grabbing our attention with the shocking story of an angry reader, journalist Ronnie Polaneczky expands on why we need to consciously and actively practice our “listening muscle”. By practicing deliberate listening and putting aside our own judgements we can discover things we don’t know that we don’t know. She moves beyond the obvious “techniques” (e.g. look them in the eye, nod your head and repeat back what you’ve heard) and challenges us to think about letting go of positions (e.g. “I want to be right”) and embracing learning – letting go of our need to judge. She closes with the personal impact listening has – it doesn’t just change the person being listened to – it changes the listener.
A Case for Active Listening with Jason Chare
You may find this talk far removed from a business environment, but active listening skills are essential for those managers wanting to build a coaching approach. Jason Chare, a professional counselor, shares his experiences with an audience of teachers. The second half (around the ninth minute) begins to look at specific strategies and attitudes – especially the importance of unconditional positive regard and listening with empathy. Check out this article on “Three ways leaders can listen with more empathy” too!
More listening resources for you …
- Wikihow’s “How to develop listening skills” is clear and simple.
- This document has 10 simple questions to evaluate your own listening skills.
- Active listening skills are covered in many of our training solutions, from Influencing skills, to our Practical toolbox for managers to Problem solving and decision making.
- This blog post is a clear and simple guide to what active listening really is and provides 7 tips for you.
And if you’d like to know more about how you can further develop your or your team’s listening skills then please don’t hesitate to contact us. We’d love to listen to you.