Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The Art of Listening

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

As this quote brings out there is a magic in listening. Just think about the times that you have been in the presence of a powerful listener. How did it make you feel? Validated, powerful, understood, recognized, important, worthy? Not a bad list. That is because one of the greatest human needs is to be understood. We want people to listen us. We want to be heard. We all have a desire to feel important and to feel as though we are contributing. The one sure way to get this feelimg is to be listened to.

People do not always have to get exactly what they want. People will often compromise once they feel that they have been listened to. In most situations that is truly what people are looking for to begin with. They simply want their point of view to be considered. Most arguments are the result of two people thinking about what they are going to say and not considering what is being said by the other person.

Trevor Gay , author and successful business coach, says "if you truly want power then you have to give it away." The best way to give power to someone is to listen to them and to genuinely make them feel as though they have been heard. The best tools that a leader has is attached to both sides of their head. Use the tool of listening frequently and you can become more powerful in all your interactions. Listening is an art form and a skill. Like any other skill it takes practice. The more you practice, the better you get. I think the better you get at listening the better you become as a manager, leader, and all around person. I have a lot practice ahead of me, but the end result will be well worth the effort.

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