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    10 Tips for Women Business Leaders to Improve their Listening Skills

    I have always believed that listening is more important than talking. One can only gain knowledge and insight by listening rather than being listened to. As a woman business leader and entrepreneur, I have found that the information you gain by actively listening always enhances the information you impart later!

    Here are some tips to sharpen your listening skills from an article I found on dumblittleman.com, “10 Ways to Improve Your Listening Skills,” and adapted from a book entitled, “Excellence in Business Communication.”

    1. Minimize internal and external distractions
      Put that doctor appointment next week out of your mind until you can give your full attention to that issue. Distractions, even small ones, can really hurt your listening power.
    2. Adjust your listening to the situation
      Are you watching TV or listening to a Webinar on your computer? You’ll need to adjust your level of attention to each specific situation.
    3. Show you are listening with nonverbal communication
      We all do this without being aware we are doing it. Things like nodding, turning your head to one side, smiling or making eye contact are all examples of nonverbal communication that shows you are engaged.
    4. Determine the most important points
      Remember when you were in school and you had to take notes while a teacher was discussing an important lesson? Resurrect those skills and make a mental note of the speaker’s major points, jot them down as reminders or repeat them to yourself to help you remember.
    5. Demonstrate empathy
      Everyone responds to empathy. Demonstrate that you are listening by repeating their concerns and showing that you understand.
    6. Rather than give advice, just listen
      Professionally, it pays to be a good listener and not jump in with unwanted advice. Save the advice for a more opportune time — if you feel it’s needed.
    7. Don’t interrupt
      Let the speaker finish his or her point before adding your input. I know it can be tempting to think about your answer or think of questions while the speaker is talking, but try giving the speaker your full attention.
    8. Don’t prejudge
      Often, we make judgments about people from the way they look, speak or dress. Try to take those things out of the equation and listen to the point the speaker is making, instead of thinking about his or her appearance.
    9. Stay focused on the subject
      It’s easy for the mind to wander when the subject of a conversation isn’t important to you. The trick is to remain focused on the speaker and train yourself to concentrate.
    10. Remain clearheaded, even if the topic is emotional
      This is where most people get into trouble. Staying calm is a learned behavior, but if you make the effort, it becomes easier to do. Take your own emotions out of the picture and think of it as if you were an observer — not a participant. It will help you distance yourself and stay calm enough to discuss it rationally.

    It’s important, I think, to remember that it’s not all about you. Sometimes listening to others and stepping back for a moment can help you hear what is being said, rather than waiting impatiently to chime in with your viewpoint.

    Having trouble concentrating? Here’s a related blog that offers tips on avoiding interruptions: “Seven Concentration Skills for Women Business Leaders.” What are your biggest concentration busters? Leave your comments, and I might write a blog about the worst offenders.

    One Response to “10 Tips for Women Business Leaders to Improve their Listening Skills”

    1. Jeff Widmer says:

      Glad you’re back.

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