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Creating Successful Leaders

By Margaret Smith, Speaker, Career Coach, and Certified Insights Discovery Practitioner

You may feel like you’re already a pretty great listener. Or perhaps you’re ready to admit that your listening skills could use a little improvement. Either way, everyone will benefit from a little refresher on the necessity of being a good listener, with a few helpful tips for staying focused on the person across from you, on the other end of the line, etc.

If your listening skills improve, you’ll also see improvements at work, at home, while socializing, and everywhere in between.

Has there ever been a time in your life when you’ve lost sight of what a conversation was really about? Have you ever been “sucked in” to a toxic conversation or argument that’s become completely unproductive? Of course you have—we all have!

I’ve found that the best way to avoid conversational distractions that become argumentative is to remember this one simple fact: Listening is about gaining knowledge. In a conversation, it’s important that I remain a dedicated listener because otherwise, I may as well have a conversation with myself in the mirror.

By focusing on the messages of others at work, you not only improve productivity, you also strengthen your relationships with the people in your life because you avoid misunderstandings and make others feel heard and understood.

An awesome benefit of being a better listener is the positive impression you leave with those you listen to. Being a better listener actually makes you seem more respectful, composed, and interesting to other people. It may seem counter-intuitive, but displaying genuine interest in what someone else is saying actually makes you a more interesting person to them.

Your Challenge:

Improve your listening skills starting now. Think about your plans for the rest of the day and choose an interaction that you’ll practice improving your listening skills during. This interaction may be with your children when you or they walk in the door, with a supervisor this afternoon, or even with the next person with whom you share a phone conversation.

Share your story: Have you ever interacted with someone who was a really good listener? How did this make you feel? How did it affect your image of, and relationship with, this person?

Interested in learning more about listening or working one-on-one with a professional career coach to gain a competitive edge? Contact Margaret Today to learn about career coaching and UXL’s public workshops!

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