Five Rules for Effective Listening

ListeningHere are 5 fundamental rules for effective listening.

As Stephen R. Covey once said, “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.”  For anyone in business, (and we add ‘especially in family business’) feeling like your voice isn’t being heard is a motivational killer. Here’s what experts say on how to become a better listener:

  1. Stop thinking that you have the best or a better answer. When you do this you start thinking about your answer and not theirs. Keep an open mind and listen.
  2. Remind yourself how important it is for others to know how much you value what they have to say.
  3. Don’t Interrupt. Sometimes we may know or think we know what someone else is going to say before they finish the sentence. Let them finish it anyway. Let those around you express themselves completely, and then pause before responding. Don’t cut people off.
  4. Engage others by asking open ended questions, like, “Tell me more about that,” and allow them to elaborate on the topic.
  5. And, of course, make eye-contact, lean-in and ignore the distractions around you. If you can’t fully focus then move the conversation somewhere more quiet and appropriate.

Source: excerpted, edited and adapted from

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