Listening well: Could your listening skills use a tune-up?

High quality listening is always important.

It’s even more important when people are stressed, as so many people are in the current economy. People are distracted, and getting more so. Listening skills are tested, sometimes to the breaking point.

In a recent brief exchange on Twitter, one writer lamented the loss of good listening skills. Here was his quick comment:

(Large coffee purveyor to remain unnamed here), “why oh why do you always insist on putting whipped cream on my drinks, even though I explicitly say no whipped cream?”

I laughed to myself, and had to respond, based on my own experience.

“Like so many things, gets down to whether they’re doing real or artificial listening.” Then I added in the 140-character limitations of Twitter-speak, “There’s nothing like deeply artificial listening to set off entire chain of events that leads nowhere grand. For co. or cust.”

He wrote back, “I’ve never heard of ‘artificial listening,’ but I like the phrase, and it’s exactly what they were doing.”

I closed with the thought that I’d love to improve the circumstance if I could. He wrapped with, “me too. Until then, I guess I’ll get whipped cream on all my coffees. ;-)”

You, too, know those daily experiences as a customer, “Why can’t they just listen – really listen to me?”

And so, some – well, maybe all of us – could use a listening skills tune-up.

If that’s true for you (don’t rely on your own judgment on this one. Ask a friend or family member or two who will be honest with you), here are a few resources you can use:

Active Listening
Empathic Approach, Listening First Aid

What resources can you add to help people improve their listening skills?

There’s a lot riding on it.' About Jan Richards

Principal of J. G. Richards Consulting, Jan helps companies improve profitability and revenue as they decrease business complexity and costs. This occurs in many ways, including: streamlining business operations; project management for major change and process improvement teams; coaching leaders of major change programs; creating long-range visions and strategic plans. A WIC Board member, Jan oversees WIC's strategic initiatives and mentoring programs.

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