Six Ways to Develop Your Listening Skills

While on a flight home after speaking to leaders within our federal courts, I struck up a nice conversation with a professional young woman who worked for Google. I mentioned I was a professional speaker and she responded, “Oh, a professional speaker! That is tremendous!”

Her response got me thinking… I’ve never met a “professional listener.” And yet, listening is the key to the ultra-successful. Regardless of your profession… technology, medical, law enforcement, sales, small business owner, retail industry, service industry, engineering, education, etc., LISTENING skills are the key to success.

People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.

Here are six ways to develop listening skills:
1. Give 100% attention and extraordinary eye contact
Undivided attention speaks volumes about how you value the person you are having a conversation with.

2. Avoid interrupting
Give people time to fully express themselves.

3. Find meaning and understanding
Hearing words being transmitted is only half of the equation—seek the meaning behind the words being spoke.

4. Uncover the deeper need
If you show people how much you care, you’ll be amazed by how much they share and openly tell you.

 5. Suspend Judgement
Don’t jump to conclusions or judgement. You will gain far greater respect by avoiding judgement.

6. Always make listening your #1 priority
Listening communicates care, interest, value, respect, humility, and graciousness—A good list to build personal success around.

The legendary, Sam Walton, Founder of Walmart and one of the richest men in America, believed listening to his employees should be his #1 priority. He was known to visit stores, sit in the break room, drink coffee, and ask questions to employees while listening attentively.

How can you improve your listening skills?

Let’s become professional listeners!

As a master storyteller, Steve has unparalleled ability to communicate dynamic business and leadership truths through stories, anecdotes and humor. Harness the power of the “number one” predictor of professional success, impact, leadership, high performance and sustainable relationships in business and life. Steve’s highest rated keynote presentation.

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“The purpose of Leadership Quest is to help professionals develop their personal leadership, vision and emotional intelligence. Everyday I strive to help leaders and teams achieve their desired goals in sales productivity, leadership, time maximization, and life-balance. ”

About the Author

Steve Gutzler is the President of Leadership Quest, a Seattle-based leadership development company. Steve is a dynamic, highly-sought-after speaker who has delivered more than 2,500 presentations to a list of clients including Microsoft, Starbucks, the Seattle Seahawks, Pandora Radio, Boeing, Cisco, Starwood Corporation, the Ritz Carlton group, and the U.S. Social Security Administration. He recently was voted #1 by the readership of Huffington Post as the Most Inspirational Leader on Social Media.

A published author on leadership and emotional intelligence, Steve resides near Seattle with his wife Julie where they enjoy time with their three adult children and six grandchildren.