Can You Hear Me Now?

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Entrepreneurs and Leaders


Who Listen 


Win Big in Tough Times 



Do you hear what I hear? Listen, do you want to know a secret? Hear Ye! Hear Ye! Friends, Romans, Countrymen, Lend Me Your Ears! The Listening Audience. I’m all ears!


You can’t be a better listener just because you decide to listen more. You must also decide to keep quiet. And those who excel at listening skills will tell you that you must actually use a pen and paper (you DO remember what they are?) and write down notes about what you hear. Paraphrasing is critical. So are observation skills.

Plus, taking notes flatters any speaker.

Let’s hit on some key points:


1. PARAPHRASING —“Do I understand you correctly to mean…?” and “What I think I hear you saying is…!” are the most effective and most commonly used sets of words for rephrasing some one’s comments. When you do this, you are in effect checking to make sure that you accurately understand what the speaker intends.

Yes, it takes more time. Yes, it can be harder than assuming. But–in the end– it’s like the carpenter/surgeon slogan: measure twice and cut once. It’s an insurance policy on transmitting accuracy.

2. OBSERVING — You need not be a kinetics expert to see that the body language that accompanies the words spoken either confirms or contradicts what is being said.

Someone who claims a willingness to cooperate with you, but whose arms are crossed is responding defensively regardless of what words she or he uses. Hands on hips, or clasped behind the head are signals of superiority. So is the joining of fingertips on both hands.

(The challenge is to make these postures change without directly addressing them.)

3. NODDING AND VERBAL UTTERANCES — Generally (unless they’re overdone) these physical responses indicate agreement and that the individual involved is paying attention. Not a bad idea to nod and make some positive sounding “um’s” occasionally when you want someone to know you’re tuned in, and in the boat, so to speak.

Equally commitive signals are leaning forward, sitting forward, feet flat on the floor without jiggling, and both hands flat on the table. A jiggling foot or leg indicates that someone’s anxious to get out, get away, finish up.

4. ASKING QUESTIONS — People will know you are interested and engaged when you ask good questions along the way . . . not questions to trip somebody up, questions to learn more. Whenever it’s possible and makes sense and works to clarify, ask for examples. Ask for diagrams. Ask for demonstrations. Ask for samples. Ask.

5. MONITORING YOURSELF — Stay as close to the commonly accepted effective communicator guidelines of speaking 20% of the time and listening 80% of the time. (Asking questions helps.) Take some deep breaths, especially when you start to feel impatient or edgy. Deep breathing helps you stay in control.

The dynamics of all the above apply equally to situations where you are not face-to-face. Telephone and video and webinar conferences are good examples of places to carry over the same disciplines. If you think about it, you’ll also see that similar applications are possible (and advisable) with written/email/text message communications. No, you can’t physically “see” another person, but you can sense and imagine based on responses you get.

If you work to listen better, you will hear 

more “cha-ching” in your cash register! 



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