This post is part of our Weekly Tips series.
Masterful listening is one of the fastest ways to build intimacy in any relationship. It’s also an essential (albeit unexpected) driver of influence. To help the cause, there’s another new eBook on the street—a hand-picked collection of simple and underused listening best practices.
Great listening is far easier said than done. Without deliberate focus, your listening is likely mediocre at best. Plus, the kind of listening that really makes a difference requires listening for more than data; it means appreciating and acting on the psychological value of the act of listening itself.
Happily, masterful listening can become natural and instinctive over time. In the words of Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu, a journey of 1000 miles starts with a single step. Hence this new eBook with 13 thought pieces excerpted from our Weekly Tips series.
Here are some highlights in case you don’t have the time or inclination to read the whole eBook and want to refresh on key lessons:
Tune in. You cannot multitask undiscovered—not for long. Eschew the distractions: close the door, face away from the computer, put the smart phone out of reach, decline to Instant Message with others.
Acknowledge early and often. Paraphrase the information people give you and empathize with their emotions—even the ones you sense but don’t overtly hear. Do this ten times more than you think you should.
Get a little Zen. When the little voice in your head pipes up, notice and observe it. Raise your consciousness about it in the moment. Then gently yet swiftly return your focus to the real conversation at hand. This is similar to the practice that experienced meditators use of refocusing on the breath.
For those who so far think, “Yeah, I’ve got this,” congrats. Only … are you sure? There’s more in the eBook to stretch your thinking and skill, like an empathy mastery quiz, a four-minute listening challenge, and a two-part test that is critical to pass before you stop listening and start problem-solving.
There are also thirteen “Make it Real” calls to action that are guaranteed to take your listening to a whole ‘nother level—single steps towards a different kind of working world.