By Adrienne Mollor, Senior Partners

“Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also

what it takes to sit down and listen” – Winston Churchill

We can all become very focused on our own voices and perspectives. People practice hard, make themselves panicked and try to stretch out of their comfort zones to become “good” speakers. There is a vision that a strong speaker is more established and successful. I would ask, can you be a good speaker without being a strong listener? Listening is a critical skill in effective communication. Without listening and understanding others and their needs, the message often can be missed or misunderstood.

What can we each do to become better listeners?

-Practice:  Most of us already start thinking about how were are going to respond when someone is talking instead of actually listening.  “Most people do not listen with then intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply” said Stephen Covey businessman and author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

To practice, imagine you will be tested on all you heard and understood. Take time after someone is done speaking to reflect.

-Takeaways: By reflecting on what others say, you should be able to pick up several key points, ideas, concerns in the conversation. To help demonstrate your listening, let them know that you heard them by restating some of their key thoughts and ask for clarification or questions on what you did not understand or could learn more on.

-Be open minded, curious, a continuous learner: By demonstrating you have listened and are asking questions, you are opening your mind to other ideas and input. You are leading with curiosity not with your initial perspective. Let yourself welcome the learnings from others by understanding and sharing their knowledge.

-Empathy: This helps us see a situation, solution, idea from someone else’s perspective. Imagine where others are coming from, what challenges and opportunities shape their thoughts.  How do these perspective shape bigger ideas.

-Be present – The only way to achieve success is to work on being present. We can all let our mind’s “drift” off, think of all the items on our to do list, look at our phones (NO, NO, NO!) and more. I challenge you to be in the moment and While listening pay attention not only to the words but the tone of voice, facial expressions, and body language. There many more messages all around.

We have worked with many organizational teams as part of their company’s ongoing training programs through workshops and presentation to address the important of listening. Listening needs to become part of each individual’s on going self development journey.

MCG Partners a woman-owned, Greater Boston-based consultancy specializing in executive coaching, leadership development, talent management, and organizational development solutions. We help businesses optimize success through the entire management life-cycle. MCG Partners is also a Predictive Index® (PI®) certified partner.

To learn more about MCG Partners’ services or The Predictive Index®, contact John Griffith at john.griffith@mcgpartners.com or visit mcgpartners.com.

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