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November 7, 2011

Antique Headphones
There’s a saying that you should keep your friends close and your enemies even closer!  The thinking is that what you don’t know can hurt you…and the more you know your enemy, the better you are able to protect yourself from it (or even avoid it altogether).


So, what are the enemies of effective listening?  Again, and in one word, emotions!  Emotions have the greatest impact on our effectiveness as listeners.  Essentially, when we are listening we are vulnerable and knowing that makes it easier to understand why listening is so hard.  Step Five to improving our listening is to be more “aware” and “familiar” with the enemies of listening…so it will be easier for you to (and for you to help others) avoid/overcome them.

All of these behaviors/barriers to listening come down to our vulnerability and willingness to BE vulnerable in exchange for the benefits of effective listening.  The “survival instinct” (both physical and emotional) can work against our efforts to develop listening as a skill!


I get so angry when I read a position description that includes in the qualifications:  Must have excellent oral and written communication skills!  I do not believe I have ever seen a position description that declares a requirement that candidates be excellent listeners!  Listening is BY FAR the most under-rated and under-developed communication skill of all.

Because, and even if, people are afraid of Public Speaking, they usually admit readily that they “should take a public speaking class or join Toastmasters.”  Some people you talk to would admit they could benefit from taking a writing class…people who are terrible writers will SAY they are.  Yet, we are all poor listeners (especially compared to our ability) but NONE OF US admit we are or that we can benefit from IMPROVING this critical skill.

So, Step Six towards improving your Listening Effectiveness is to acknowledge and TREAT listening as a skill.  Use it or lose it!  Pay it if you want it to pay you!  No pain, no gain.  You get out what you put in!  If you are not getting better you are getting worse!  All cliché’s apply!

So, what are you doing to improve your listening skills?

Wolf Management offers customized workshops, seminars, training’s and private coaching that will improve your listening and help you improve the listening of others on your team, staff, jury, committee, or household.  Click here to explore a customized Listening Program for you!


From → Communication

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