When it comes to leading or influencing others, intentional listening is the single most important thing we can do. I know most of us believe that we are great listeners, but I think we may be challenged in this area at times. Why? We receive tons of information all at once, and by the time we get it, it changes. We also are under pressure to provide information quicker than ever. If we aren’t intentional, our ability to absorb and disseminate information can be affected.
There’s an easy way to make sure we are practicing intentional listening. I call it C.U.P. These are the things we should listen for at all times:
C – Connections
Connect the dots. Communication is just a chain. Each conversation or interaction is a link on that chain. You should listen for themes and patterns. Keep a mental trail of thoughts, ideas and actions that are relevant.
U – Understanding
Don’t just repeat what you heard, clarify what they meant. For some reason, we don’t feel comfortable saying “What do you mean?” as though it makes us “look” clueless. Don’t worry, getting it wrong will make us clueless. Don’t ever walk away guessing. Instead of “So, I heard you say”, ask “I understand that..Is this correct?”
P – Priority
Remember what’s most important. In every conversation, let’s make it a point to hone in on the most important details. A powerful question is “What is the most important thing that needs to happen?” or “How important is this to you?” Make a note to yourself of what this priority is and keep it in mind. Follow through with action that takes care of priority. This is a major trust-builder.
Although these are basic principles, it’s important to practice what we know. Remember to take your C.U.P. with you as you listen and lead!
Please share some ways that you listen well.