The Power of Listening

"Listening is a magnetic and strange force.
The people who listen to us are the ones we move toward."

- Karl Menninger

It is rare to find someone who gives you their focused attention. It's rare because true listening is hard work. Listening is difficult for several reasons.

First, with modern technology and devices, our attention span is getting shorter and shorter.

Second, humans speak at a rate of 125 words per minute but we can listen at a rate of 500 words per minute. That's lots of room to go on a mental vacation when someone else is talking.

Finally, we are all naturally self-centered, so listening is often simply being quiet until we get our turn to speak.

In school, we were taught several communication skills; reading, writing, and even public speaking in speech class. But we were never taught listening skills.

Here is a 4-step LISA model that will help you improve your listening.

L - Listen to understand.
(This much different than listening to respond.)

I - Inquire.
Probe deeper, ask questions.

S - Summarize.
Concisely paraphrase what you heard to ensure understanding.

A - Acknowledge.
Notice, A doesn't stand for Agree. You don't have to agree with the other person to acknowledge their opinion or perspective.

The fact is we can often have more influence with our ears than our mouth. Set yourself apart both personally and professionally by being the rare person who asks great questions and then gives the other person the gift of your focused attention.

“Listening is about being present, not just about being quiet.”
- Krista Tippett