what is the first thing required every time you ask a question? Listen!

Bob currently serves on the U.S. Leadership Development Team and is passionate about seeing leaders grow and multiply their effectiveness.

If you want to be effective at “Leading With Questions” what is the first thing required every time you ask a question?  Might it be – You then have to LISTEN?

“Being heard is so close to being loved that for the average person, they are almost Indistinguishable.”  David Augsburger, Senior Professor of Pastoral Care & Counseling at Fuller Seminary.

Ken Blanchard shares that whenever he asks people to talk about the best boss they have ever had they also mention one quality:  Listening!

A seminary student carried out an experiment for a class assignment.  He put an ad in the local paper that said, “Will listen without interrupting for one hour.  $50.”  He was hoping to get a few calls from people who would simply give their reactions to his unusual approach.  But before the experiment was over, he made about $600.

So, has anything I have just shared in this post surprised you?  I am guessing not!

So, if we all already know how valuable listening is why aren’t we much much better at it?  What do you think?  (I sincerely would love to hear your thoughts?)

And then here is the very important question:

How can we get better at Listening? What do you think? (Again, I would love to know your thoughts?)

So, if we all already know how valuable listening is why aren’t we much much better at it?


Here are a couple of practices that I have found helpful:

  • Focus on being “Interested not Interesting!”
  • Focus on asking follow-up questions:
    • Please say more about that?
    • What else would you add?
    • What did you think about that?
    • How did that make you feel?
    • How did you figure that out?
    • What did you learn from this?
    • How will this benefit you going forward?
  • Focus on giving whoever I am talking with the gift of “Being listened to!” I can’t fully explain it but when I remind myself that I am giving them the gift of listening it somehow lets me listen better.
  • Focus on my goal in most conversations to listen 70% and to talk 30%. When I am coaching that moves up to listening 90% and talking 10%!  And then immediately after any conversation or coaching session to ask myself “How did I do?  What % of the time did I listen?  What % of the time did I talk?”  Somehow knowing that I am going to ask myself those questions when the conversation is over helps me stay focused on listening.
  • Here is an acrostic I keep by my computer

It reminds me to focus on listening not talking!

“Remember that people care more about themselves than they care about you. People want to talk about themselves. Listening and letting people talk is key to winning them over in life, in business, and in all human relationships.”  Dave Kerpen from his book “The Art of People – 11 Simple People Skills That Will Get You Everything You Want.”

So what are a couple of practices that you have found useful to your “Listening Success?”

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