One of the most oft-repeated lessons from management classes and books in recent years is the necessity of “Active Listening.” It is a very difficult skill that few people have mastered, but those who do are far more successful managers, salespeople, and family members.
True “Active Listening” creates far more rapport, connection, and trust between parties. Active Listening requires 1. Careful attention with no distractions; 2. No interrupting; 3. No judgment; 4. Focus on what is being said without thinking about a response; 5. Appropriate responses; and 6. Perception Checking.
Perception Checking is the biggest trend in management and sales. It requires listeners to restate what they are hearing, and it is essential in all communication. Sheryl Sandberg, in fact, highlights the skill in her excellent book “Lean In.”
I just witnessed an extremely volatile situation get diffused with “Active Listening.” A very irate borrower called my wife Heejin to complain bitterly about something that was completely beyond Heejin’s control. The “old Heejin” would not have tolerated the abuse. The “new Heejin,” however, did nothing but listen and listen and listen, and perception check…and amazingly, the borrower calmed down.
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