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5 ways to listen better-Julian Treasure

Eilidh Milnes

Are you a good listener? Or do you half-listen, mentally preparing your response, just waiting for the other person to draw breath...

So that you can interject with a clever or witty retort? Perhaps you know someone who fits this description?

If you think your listening skills could do with a polish then simply take this test. In your next meeting or conversation, note the number of times you interrupt. The result may surprise you. How many "mental notes" did you make? More than you expected? Few people realise that their listening skills need attention.

McArthur clan motto

My clan motto is 'Listen o' Listen!' which is apt for a speaker don't you think? My ancestors would have screeched this battle cry, hurtling out of the Scottish Highlands, brandishing claymores! Now my modern day approach does not physically threaten; however my programmes laced with humour; do take a challenging look at effective communication.  My training is designed to help transform relationships, skills and attitudes. The objective is to connect powerfully and to plug people into their emotions by creating transparency, trust and respect. If you want to connect more powerfully, you need to actively listen. This is powerful and essential when it comes to being a successful networker. 

How to listen better

Look at the person speaking to you. Go out of your way to focus your thoughts on what is being said.

  • Ask questions and respond carefully to the answers.
  • Resist interrupting. You have two ears and one mouth, use them 2:1.
  • Changing the subject indicates that your mind is elsewhere. It shows you're not concentrating on what's being and this makes the speaker feel insignificant.
  • When someone shares information with you, empathise - put yourself in his/her shoes.
Using an enthusiastic tone implies you're interested in what the speaker is saying. Smiling and nodding help too. Crossing your arms can be interpreted as being closed off. If the person speaking is sitting down, you sit too; standing over someone is authoritative and may make the other person feel uncomfortable.

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Listening is a hugely under-rated skill

Enjoy Julian Treasure's Ted Talk "5 ways to listen better," spotted on Derek Arden's blog. I for one am going to aim to listen better in the future. Listening with interest is the greatest compliment you can give another human being.

Ever Positive, Eilidh

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