Listening well helps you learn, but it is a necessary skill in career success as well. It will help you find innovation, boost morale, avoid conflict, gain respect, and avoid misunderstanding.
There are three main strategies to listening in a manner that leads to learning and success.
- Know why you are listening, and seek out opportunities to listen to people who are offering new theories and data on a subject you care about. Be open to different perspectives. Try to look at a topic from someone else’s perspective.
- Focus on the person and ideas you are listening to. Analyze the speaker’s facts, but play close attention to their theories and the big picture they are trying to convey. Ask why they say what they say, and what motivates them to do so. Ask yourself how their position, theoretical framework, or worldview may affect how they think.
- Ask questions when you don’t understand something, or think you may disagree. Be courageous and polite in your response. Restate what you have heard and ask for confirmation that you understood correctly. State your opinion so the speaker has a chance to correct you. In this manner, listening is interactive, and both you and the speaker may learn something!