Why Am I Talking?

Yesterday’s edition of High-Per Hints, the newsletter for Ellyn Traub’s High Performance Leadership Inc., includes a useful item.

Every time you engage in conversation, you receive hundreds of pieces of information, all which contribute to your understanding of the other person. So the idea that you can do more than one thing and listen seems absurd. Many books have been written on the subject of listening, but truly effective listening goes beyond active listening and having good listening skills. High performance listening is contextual and empathic. High performance listening is about honoring the speaker.

Be Attentive: Set your distractions aside and “be” in the same space of the speaker. This includes your mental distractions of ego, your own agenda and your judgments.

Listen beyond the words. Tone of voice, speech pace, body language, and voice pitch, are clues to where the speaker is at the moment. Join him/her in the moment; your understanding will be that much deeper.

What is not being said is as important as what is being said. Let the person speak until they are satisfied they have communicated and fully developed their thoughts.

Set your ego aside; give up your need to control the conversation. Ask discovery questions to fully understand the speaker; let him/her take you where he/she wants to go. Be engaged, but not in control. Let the speaker finish then wait before responding.

Stay open to new ideas. During the course of a conversation where new ideas are being discussed, it is easy to listen to argue. Remember, new ideas are just that, they are not set in stone.

Show others respect and they will respect you in return. When you feel that you’re talking too much, just think W.A.I.T.!

This is something I’m going to try. Talk less; do more?