To heighten your listening awareness skills, remind yourself:
- When you are listening to a conversation directed to you, are you really there or pretending to pay attention? Does this haunt you later trying to identify what was really asked for and now you have not really heard the request?
- In your professional career, can you be affecting your direct job performance by listening in auto-pilot mode? When you leave meetings, are you certain what your commitments are and those of other functional departments?
- Are you listening from a place of resignation, nothing will ever change? Or, are you listening from a cultural perspective? No matter what is said, tradition dictates the same methods for solution; consequently, you stop hearing any new offers of creativity?
- Can you listen without judgment or discrimination, filtering out other perspectives that could enable you to hear inventive solutions to problems?
- Are you picking up on the non-verbal facial or body communications that accompany the speaker’s actual expressions? Do you think the speaker’s intent matches the actual words?
- Can you identify specific examples of recent disappointments and look for the places where you may have been misunderstood? What thoughts were you trying to communicate and assumed all tasks would be done by others with full understanding?
- Do your personal expectations limit or restrict someone’s ability to produce the result or outcome? How can you be more open to their tactics or processes?
“I remind myself every morning: Nothing I say this day will teach me anything. So, if I’m going to learn, I must do it by listening.” – Larry King