If you are actively applying just two or more of the7 steps outlined in prior blogs, then you are already experiencing increased effectiveness in your life. There is an 8th step that standing on its own will accelerate your personal and professional ability to get things done and also build more value-added relationships. If incorporated into the other 7 it catapults you into entirely higher realm of efficacy. This step is “Listening to Learn.”
Listening to Learn is informed by the simple observation that we have two ears and one mouth. If we can learn to listen at least twice as much as we talk, we have automatically increased out effectiveness. Yet, the process of actively listening to learn has a few more skills associated with it. For example, it is not enough to simply “hear” another person, we also need to let them know that we have both heard them and understand what they are saying. This means cultivating a healthy sense of curiosity or in the words of St. Francis of Assisi in the 14th century, developing the desire “To seek more to understand than to be understood.”
As you listen to another person, are you listening with an open mind and heart, seeking to “hear” both what is being said along with what is being felt and also what is being left unsaid? Are you actively seeking to understand the other person’s or group’s perspective, viewpoint, feelings, concerns, needs, aspirations and ideas? If you are doing so and then incorporating their ideas and input into what you are saying to them by actively demonstrating you are hearing them, they are then more open to you and willing to hear what you have to say and in turn to be influenced by you.
Are you cultivating curiosity and seeking to understand in your listening? Are you elevating your effectiveness both at work as well as at home by actively listening to discover and learn?