Listening, like many other elements of communication, can be developed through practice, or lost if not used regularly. Good listeners focus on what they hear. They pause, think about what they’ve heard, before responding.
In today’s “act now” world it can sometimes seem as if listening has become a lost art. Our reactivity to an endless need to multitask, manage distracted thinking or a need to pay attention to other performance priorities presents challenges for both time and attention spans. Now, more than ever we need to listen to hear, not listen to respond.
As business leaders and coaches, we believe listening is key to being successful in just about everything, especially relationships, and relationships are key to being a talented leader. One way to think about applying the art of listening is through the three Centers of Intelligence — Head, Heart, and Body — that are central to the teachings of the Enneagram.
Here are three tips to encourage and inform how you can practice the art of listening:
1. Revisit our Can you Hear Me Now? Review a quick break down of the three Centers of Intelligence.
2. Next, pay attention to and be mindful of how each of the three centers listens — what is unique for the Head? The Heart? The Body?
3. Finally, hit “pause” and intentionally practice just listening*.
This week, challenge yourself to practice the art of giving 100% of your attention to just listening during a few key conversations. Do nothing else. Just listen. Then afterwards, reflect on what you heard when you tuned in and truly listened. Reach out and share what you learned! Send us an email or post a comment on our Facebook page. We love hearing from you.
*Curious? Want to earn some “extra credit?” Here’s more interesting facts about listening.
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