In the previous post in this series, I suggested that becoming a better listener is a career advancing skill. For some, that is easier said than done. Today’s topic might make it easier to become a better listener. It will also provide context for all future posts.
Beliefs drive attitudes — attitudes drive behaviors — behaviors form habits.
What beliefs and attitudes cause people to form their listening habits? Maybe a better question would be, “What beliefs and attitudes are at the root of your listening habits?” As an illustration, allow me to offer a few of my own beliefs about listening. First of all, I believe that there is value in understanding someone, without regard to whether or not I like them. I believe that to really understand someone I must listen and observe. I also believe everyone has an interesting story to tell and even if they don’t tell it very well, it’s worthwhile being patient.
“I remind myself every morning: Nothing I say this day will teach me anything.
So if I’m going to learn, I must do it by listening.”
— Larry King
“So when you are listening to somebody, completely, attentively,
then you are listening not only to the words,
but also to the feeling of what is being conveyed, to the whole of it, not part of it.”
— Jiddu Krishnamurti
So, when I find myself drifting away while another person is talking, I remind myself that I am curious about them because I want to learn. Curiosity leads to listening and questions so I can learn. When put that way, it sounds kind of selfish. Maybe so, but consider this …
“Listening, not imitation, may be the sincerest form of flattery. ”
— Joyce Brothers
I must admit, with some people it is harder to be genuinely curious. In those cases, I imagine I am a reporter trying to “get the scoop.” Sounds silly? Maybe so, but it works for me.
Explore your beliefs. It might help you discover what works for you so you can become a better listener and learner. Here are three questions to ponder …
- What beliefs impact my listening skills?
- What beliefs drive some of my other learning habits?
- What belief will I change today and what is my expected outcome?