After reading Paula Hawthaway's post on listending, I wanted to add to her thoughts. Paying attention to people will increase their production as shown in the Hawthorne Effrect (http://www.nwlink.com/~donclark/hrd/history/hawthorne.html). The greatest way we can pay attention to people is by ACTIVELY LISTENING to them.
Being silent while someone else is talking is not necessarily listening. How much "internal" conversation is going on in your head when you "listening" to someone else speak to you? Active listening starts in your head. It required a disciplined effort to focus on the speaker. To not think about other things, but to really concentrate on what they saying to you. When you are an active listener you are able to feel the things the speaker is feeling and see the things the speaker is seeing. It's not easy and takes lots of practice, but it will be worth the effort. Your staff and team will work harder and be happier. Your BUYERS & SELLERS will feel important and know that you are working to undrestand them.
Listening should be thought of as part of the Golden Rule. Listen to others as you would like to have someone listen to you. Here are 5 points to help you get started. I will do a follow up Listening Post for the "rest of the story!" So LISTEN!
1. Face the speaker. Sit up straight or lean forward slightly to show your attentiveness through body language.
2. Maintain eye contact, to the degree that the speaker remains comfortable.
3. Minimize external distractions. Turn off the TV. Stop typing your email or surfing the computer. Put down your book or magazine.
4. Focus solely on what the speaker is saying. Try not to think about what you are going to say next. The conversation will follow a logical flow after the speaker makes her point.
5. Minimize internal distractions. If your own thoughts keep popping in, simply let them go and continuously re-focus your attention on the speaker.