Listening may seem like an easy concept, but have you really ever thought about how you listen? Many people think that they are good listeners until you ask those around them how understood or heard they really feel.
It is highly recommended that you read the book “Becoming a Person of Influence,” by John Maxwell. It touches on, among many issues, the art of listening.
In the book, there is a nine question quiz to help you assess your listening skills. Here are two examples of the questions to consider:
Do I wait for the speaker to finish talking before I respond?
Do I make understanding my goal?
As important as it is to evaluate these questions for yourself, it can also be useful to ask your spouse or partner to answer these questions about you as well.
Heather runs a group coaching program where she recently asked participants to do exactly that, and the results from one of her participants, Susan, was eye-opening.
Susan thought she was a great listener as a boss, as a wife and as a mother. She took the listening quiz and realized maybe she wasn’t as good as she thought she was. But then, Susan asked her husband to evaluate her listening skills and the results were profound. Susan discovered that their communications were based on “transactional listening,” where all communication focused on “who needs to get where and when,” rather than taking the time to hear what her husband had to say. In fact, it was so bad that Susan’s husband admitted that he stopped trying to communicate with her a long time ago because she doesn’t really listen to him.
As painful as this way to hear, Susan saw this as an opportunity to create a new way of being, in her personal life and in the workplace.
If you are interested in taking the quiz yourself, pick up a copy of Maxwell’s book or reach out to Heather.