Education & Training with Performance Development Strategies

We have two ears and one mouth so that we should listen twice as much as we talk.

Why can two different people communicate the same message but have different results? The key is making a connection. Covey’s fifth of his seven habits of highly effective people is, First seek to understand then to be understood. Without connection there is an absence of trust and without trust the message may not have its intended response.

Build your connection with empathy. Actively listen and ask questions and show genuine interest. How well you listen has a major impact on your job effectiveness, and on the quality of your relationships with others.

For some reason people place a high priority on speaking and presentation skills but do not place the same emphasis on listening skills. Most people are thinking about what they will say next rather than seeking to understand by actively listening to what others are saying. If we believe that empathy is an important trait, then we should realize that is impossible to understand what someone is thinking or feeling if we are constantly talking.

For example, you want to convey the message to an associate that you want him to be on time for meetings. You could tell him that you are frustrated with his lack of punctuality and that it is affecting the way you manage the meeting. That might arouse resentment and he may feel that you don’t understand his reasons. You have not made a connection and you probably won’t get the desired result. On the other hand, you might ask him how being late affects his rapport with the other members of the meeting. Wait for the answer. Then ask another question such as how does that make you feel? Keep actively listening and asking questions. Your colleague will get the message and might decide that he does not want his reputation affected so he will begin coming to meetings early. You connect to him be having him see the importance to him.

As you communicate you might consider these 10 tips for active listening, communicating, and connecting:

1.        Stop Talking. You can’t talk and listen at the same time. And you have two ears and one mouth for a reason.

2.        Focus on the other person. Give the other person your undivided attention.

3.        Show active participation. Ask questions, listen, and ask another question based on what you just heard.

4.        Empathize. Take a moment to understand the other person’s viewpoint even if you disagree.

5.        Keep an open mind. Be very slow to disagree or criticize. Ask questions to probe for understanding.

6.        Have patience for people who take longer to express themselves.

7.        Nonverbal signals have more meaning than the words. Are the nonverbal signals in sync with the words?

8.        Watch for your nonverbal signals and control your emotions.

9.        Provide feedback. For example, paraphrase with, "What I'm hearing is," and "Sounds like you are saying."

10.      Lighten up. Sometimes we take ourselves too seriously. Appropriate humor can help to insure positive outcomes.


Your ability to connect will directly influence your results in your business, in sales, in leadership, and in your personal life.  For a similar post on our website see ACTIVE LISTENING WILL PROMOTE TRUST.

Learn how to listen and understand

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or call 914-953-4458.

Comments (38)

George Souto
George Souto NMLS #65149 FHA, CHFA, VA Mortgages - Middletown, CT
Your Connecticut Mortgage Expert

Grant we have two ears and one mouth, but many people behave like they have two mouths and one ear.

Mar 01, 2021 03:49 PM
Sheri Sperry - MCNE®
Coldwell Banker Realty - Sedona, AZ
(928) 274-7355 ~ YOUR Solutions REALTOR®

Hi Grant Schneider - These are great points that are worth repeating over and over. A great salesperson will follow these steps to the tee.  I have found that the biggest hurdle to active listening is formulating your "comeback" while the other person is talking.  

Mar 01, 2021 05:23 PM
Grant Schneider
Performance Development Strategies - Armonk, NY
Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes

Rocky - thank you very much.

Joan - that is probably the reason she still is not comfortable.

Roy - thanks for stopping by.

Ron and Alexandrea - I can imagine how revealing that was.

Will - please do re blog it.

Paul - and don't we know it too when we are with one.

Winston - that take discipline.

George - yes, that is for sure.

Sheri - yes, not every situation is not easy is it.

Mar 02, 2021 03:37 AM
Roy Kelley
Realty Group Referrals - Gaithersburg, MD

Good Tuesday morning, Grant.

Take care, be safe and have a great day.

Mar 02, 2021 04:08 AM
Grant Schneider
Performance Development Strategies - Armonk, NY
Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes

Roy - Hope you have a great week.

Mar 04, 2021 03:10 AM
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Grant- this is something that we all need to remember. Too often we're thinking about what we want to say next without really hearing what the other person is telling us. 

Mar 06, 2021 10:34 AM
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Mar 06, 2021 06:01 PM
Wayne Martin
Wayne M Martin - Chicago, IL
Real Estate Broker - Retired

Good morning Grant. Seek first to understand! You can't do that talking and you can't do that thinking of a response and not paying attention. And people don't understand why they are not understood. Enjoy your day.

Mar 07, 2021 05:13 AM
Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
New Hampshire Home Stager

This really should be featured! Excellent advice Grant!

I really like your example of the person who is always late.

How well you listen has a major impact on your job effectiveness, and on the quality of your relationships with others.


Mar 07, 2021 06:59 AM
Dorie Dillard Austin TX
Coldwell Banker Realty ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
NW Austin ~ Canyon Creek and Spicewood/Balcones

Good morning Grant Schneider,

I'm so glad Kathy Streib featured your post in her "Ah-ha" moments for the week as I missed it. We all have heard this phrase many times but many still fail to really "listen" so they can make a meaningful connection and in turn be understood.

Mar 07, 2021 07:08 AM
Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD
ViewHomes of Clark County - Nature As Neighbors - Camas, WA
REALTORS® in Clark County, WA

I'm especially appreciative of your advice for the late attendee. Tardiness is one of my pet peeves. I really appreciate your solution. D

Mar 07, 2021 07:56 AM
Chris Ann Cleland
Long and Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA - Bristow, VA
Associate Broker, Bristow, VA

Fantastic advice.  Listening is a skill that is not emphasized enough.

Mar 07, 2021 09:31 AM
Anna Banana Kruchten CRS, CRB, Phoenix Broker
HomeSmart Real Estate BR030809000 - Phoenix, AZ

Another excellent post Grant.  You've covered it all.  Seems interesting ( ok humorous to me) that you'd actually have to suggest someone who is attempting to listen to shut up.  But it's true!

Mar 07, 2021 10:49 AM
Paula McDonald, Ph.D.
Beam & Branch Realty - Granbury, TX
Granbury, TX 936-203-0279

Always great information. So glad Kathy included it. Have a great weekend.

Mar 07, 2021 12:14 PM
Grant Schneider
Performance Development Strategies - Armonk, NY
Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes

Hi Kathy - active listening does take effort but pays.  Thanks again for featuring this!

Wayne - well said my friend.

Sharon - thanks.  Many of my examples are from the employment perspective.

Dorie - I was just talk about this with my HR class yesterday.  It is very difficult and takes discipline and concentration to actively listen.

Debb - I am really glad you could relate to that.

Chris Ann - or for that matter, not practiced enough.

Anna -  you bet.  Some people can't stand a minute of pausing silence;  they must start talking.

Paula - thanks.  Glad you liked it.

Mar 07, 2021 05:58 PM
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

Grant you are so spot on, a couple years ago one of my  neighbors decided she wanted to be a Realtor, because she gave me a referral and magically I got the listing and the sale... this inspired her..... anyway took her out to do "door knocking" and funny she committed the cardinal sin you describe she talked more and listened less:)Endre

Mar 07, 2021 10:31 PM
Elyse Berman, PA
Best Connections Realty, Inc. - Boca Raton, FL
Boca Raton FL (561) 716-7824 CRS, ABR, GRI,ePR

Grant, This is great advice we should all remember.

Mar 08, 2021 02:26 AM
Ed Silva
Mapleridge Realty, CT 203-206-0754 - Waterbury, CT
Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally

There are always two sides to every story, but if we never listen to the other side we miss the point completely.  Nice post.

Mar 08, 2021 05:18 AM
Number Cruncher LLC - Overton, NV
Helping Taxpayers Resolve IRS problems

Really good advice.  I am horrible about finishing other people's sentences.  I am working on keeping my mouth shut!

Mar 10, 2021 07:52 PM
Jim Smith
The Property Management Company - Round Rock, TX

I've been blessed with many mentors in my life, beginning with parents and grandparents.  I learned early on that we have far more receptors than emitters.  Two ears, two eyes, nose, touch, taste, one mouth, and mental interpretation; this is a seven to one ratio. Ask the question, then shut up and use the receptors and pay attention to what is truly being conveyed.  At least 7/8th's of the time I am in reception mode.

Mar 16, 2021 07:04 AM

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