Episode No. 140
  •  June 6, 2024

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The Transformative Power of Active Listening

Who knew that our ears could boost your business game? Active listening skills can amp up collaboration and productivity by a whopping 25%. Learning the art of listening also increases employee satisfaction by 30%. And a staggering 80% of workplace drama stems from poor communication. Clearly, listening isn’t just kind — it’s powerful.  We spend about 45% of our waking hours listening. For the average American, that’s around 7.58 hours a day. We hear between 20,000 to 30,000 words daily—way more than the 16,000 words we speak. Sadly, over 70% of workers suffer from poor listening habits, impacting learning (85% of what we learn is from listening) and problem-solving abilities.  Listening Statistics – Word Finder by WordsRated; The Biggest Bang for Your Organization’s Buck? Active Listening Skills

Show Notes

Hearing is just your ears doing their job. Active listening? That’s your brain going into overdrive, focusing on sounds and extracting meaning. It’s a full-on mental workout involving attention, contemplation, and response.  According to Harvard’s Robin Abrahams and Boris Groysberg, active listening breaks down into three parts:

  • Cognitive: Pay attention to all the info, both spoken and unspoken.
  • Emotional: Keep calm and carry on, even if you’re annoyed or bored.
  • Behavioral: Show you’re interested with verbal and non-verbal cues.

Ingredients for Active Listening

  1. Presence: Be in the moment. Put down your phone, make eye contact, and show you’re engaged. Avoid jumping to conclusions or trying to “fix” things right away.
  2. Curiosity: Stay curious and humble. Ask questions to clarify and understand before you respond. Keep power dynamics and past feedback in mind.  
  3. Connection: Listening is about forming a connection. Understand and honor what the speaker values. This approach can lead to better progress for both parties involved.  

Mastering the Art of Active Listening

  1. Know Your Style: Identify if you’re task-oriented, analytical, relational, or critical. Each style suits different situations.
  2. Choose Wisely: Determine the best listening style for the moment by considering the conversation’s goals and the speaker’s needs.
  3. Stay Focused: Don’t let insecurities or distractions (like checking emails) get in the way. Use mantras or meditation to keep your mind on track.
  4. Ask Questions: It shows you’re engaged and deepens your understanding. Questions can also uncover hidden emotions or unspoken points.

Remember, listening is more than just nodding and saying “Mm-hmm.” It’s about asking insightful questions and being truly present. If we stay curious, stay present, we can not only hear but understand and connect on a deeper level.  Active listening isn’t just a nice-to-have skill; it’s a game-changer. So, lend an ear, and who knows? You might just hear the next big idea.

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