6 Basics for Improving Business Listening

January 23, 2013

It is the middle of a busy afternoon here in the Northwest as you sit in your office somewhere in King County, and the news is on the desk radio. All of a sudden, there is a news bulletin and you drop your pen a second to hear what is being said. In the meantime you do not hear your boss, who has summoned you to the office. As she walks in and asks why you were not listening, you honestly state you did not hear her.

This happens a lot in organizations across Washngton and across the country. Many of us are not listening like we should because we have information overload; couple that with the fact we are thinking all the time, and you quickly realize that thinking might be a distraction as well. What to do?

Simply put, listening is the active ingredient in hearing.

Here are six basics to improved business listening:

  • Always sender, message, receiver: Listening is a three way street. Speaker and the one hearing, must agree on the commonality of message. That is why listening is critical.
  • Goal and objective driven: There is always process with listening.
  • Transactional in focus: Give and take creates quality listening and clear and effective meaning.
  • Topic and situation: We admit that not every situation is critical and important. But practice makes perfect. Active listening regardless of person and place is a great habit to have in an organization.
  • Attention task: The simple act of isolating all other stimuli and blending it with eye contact will not only increase listening levels, but will make you the “go-to” person in every situation.
  • UESR: Understand, evaluate, summarize, and respond goes back to the old phrase, “look before you leap”. Information gathering and assessment before talking makes for quality exchanges and conversation in most one-on-one discussions.

Recent studies have stated that almost half of one’s income is derived from the skill of listening. It probably is even higher in specific fields such as sales, customer service, and management.

It is good to remember that poor listening equates to poor results. It can indeed cost income and responsibility. No individual has ever listened themselves out of a job or career. It truly is “can you hear me now?”


This post is brought to you by the good folks at Dale Carnegie Training Northwest, providers of professional development and management development courses and information in the Northwest. We’d love to connect with you on Facebook and LinkedIn.

Photo: Renjith Krishnan, freedigitalphotos.net

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