Listening Skill

Stop, Look & Listen

Do you remember that mantra from your grade-school teachers? I do, and I remember as a cross-walk guard – I was given a vest and a badge in 4th and 5th grades – how proud I was of that position. I also kept repeating, “Stop, look and listen.”

The mantra back then was for our safety – stop at the sidewalk, look both ways and listen for cars, motorcycles or buses. Now, as we communicate in the broader world, how germane this saying can be, whether in the workplace, at a party, with strangers, or at home. Use it for your listening skills!

When you’re in conversation with someone, when you’re in a staff meeting, when you’re on the phone, or when you’re getting instructions: Stop, look and listen.
Stop whatever you’re doing when you’re engaged in conversation or in a meeting: no mobile phone, no computer, no daydreaming: be present!

Look at the other person – eye contact is a great tool, acknowledge him/her with a shake of your head or a smile to allow him/her to know you’re listening. When you’re on the phone, look at a nondescript object – not your computer. Look and feel interested; the other person can feel it through the phone.

Listen with your whole being: active listening is in short supply in the high-tech world. We usually listen about 55+ percent of the time on any given day; we’re waiting for our turn to talk!

I’m guilty of this and I make a concerted effort to be more in tune with the other person, especially when we’re together.

Give your friends, family, co-workers, managers, prospects or others a 100 percent of your listening; you’ll be glad you did as will they. This also saves time: “What did you say?” will be deleted – you hope.

Stop, look and listen today. Pass it on.

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