As every leader knows, the driver of organizational success for Dale Carnegie Training is employee engagement and involvement. The contributions from employees at every level create new goals and objectives, providing the competitive edge every business wants and needs as they head more deeply into the year. Today’s leadership has a powerful tool they can access at any time to build relationships and entertain suggestions and ideas from every area and department. The tool is active listening.
In Dale Carnegie’s wonderful classic business and success book, How to Win Friends and Influence People, Mr. Carnegie stated this very important point about listening: “Listen first. Give your opponents a chance to talk. Let them finish. Do not resist, defend or debate. This only raises barriers. Try to build bridges of understanding.”
It is through opportunity, mutual exchange and understanding that results happen. It is through the simple acts of eye contact, paying attention and listening for insight and information, that make it all happen day-to-day. Although employees use a wide variety of communication activities to complete assignments and projects, none are as important as the skill of listening.
- Actively listen for information: There is always a purpose to every business discussion. Understanding the message is critical.
- Do not jump to conclusions: As minds speed ahead, we often forget to pay attention to the details.
- Focus with an understanding of kinetics (body language) and eye contact: Making the other individual feel important and showing genuine interest brings out the best in every exchange.
- Remember what was said: “How soon we forget” is more than a common saying. It is essential to the assessment and documentation of the conversation. We often only retain 20% of the information we receive in conversation.
- Ask questions: When asked a question, follow up with a question. It keeps the discussion going and ensures that the other person has a chance to respond.
- Always have an outcome: Within every discussion there is an outcome of some kind. Using the discussion to improve process and performance will improve the company’s goals and objectives.
Listening is the one professional skill that makes leadership effective. Success is simple if it is listened to 100% of the time.
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