THE ART OF LISTENING

By Tony Schiller, Executive Vice President and Partner, Paragon Marketing.


No matter what one does personally and professionally; the reality is that in order to be good at something we must give time and attention to developing a particular skill, attribute, ability.


So, it has dawned on me that one of the most important abilities that impacts our ability to relate, perform, create and find joy is truly overlooked. The ability/skill I am referencing is listening…or what I call the Art of Listening.


IT’S NOT THE ART OF HEARING… IT’S THE ART OF LISTENING


HEARING IS INVOLUNTARY… A NOISE IS MADE YOU HEAR IT


LISTENING IS VOLUNTARY… WE CHOOSE, WE COMMIT TO LISTENING…


In life, we work on so many interesting and important abilities; speaking, writing, empathy, leadership, physical fitness, breathing and yet there is so little focus on listening. Yet, listening is a pathway to relating, understanding, creating, collaborating and validating.


How many times have you been in a conversation… maybe with a parent, friend, partner, co-worker, client and you realize “oh crap” I totally just spaced the past 90 seconds.


When we talk about listening…let’s start with the why. Why do we listen?

  • TO LEARN

  • TO ENGAGE

  • TO CONNECT

  • TO ALIGN

  • TO BUILD RELATIONSHIPS AND TRUST


So, what are we talking about when we refer to the skill set of listening… or what I like to call active listening:

  • BE GROUNDED

  • BE FOCUSED

  • LISTEN TO PROCESS INFORMATION, TO LEARN

  • ENGAGE WITH ACTIVE EYE CONTACT

  • CONNECT WITH YOUR ENERGY AND DIRECT IT TO THE PERSON SPEAKING

  • SIT UP AND MOVE YOUR BODY FORWARD

  • NOD YOUR HEAD

  • Express appreciation for what the speaker has communicated

Be aware of the speaker’s eyes, their energy and body language. They will find comfort and motivation to know you are fully engaged in what they are communicating.


THINGS TO NOT DO WHEN ENGAGED IN ACTIVE LISTENING:

  • SPEND TIME FORMULATING YOUR NEXT QUESTION OR STATEMENT

  • DON’T ALLOW YOURSELF TO SPEAK OR RESPOND FROM YOUR EGO

  • DON’T ASK QUESTIONS TO BE HEARD OR SHOW OFF YOUR KNOWLEDGE

  • DON’T PLAN YOUR RESPONSE… STAY GROUNDED IN THE MOMENT

  • TURN OFF WHAT I CALL YOUR MONKEY BRAIN… THINKING ABOUT EVERYTHING BUT THE SPEAKER

  • TO GROUND MYSELF I USE A FEW TACTICS… FEEL MY FEET, FOCUS ON 2 BREATHS AND TOUCH/HOLD SOMETHING. ALL OF THESE ARE TRIGGERS FOR ME TO GET BACK IN THIS MOMENT

  • I KNOW IT’S NOT ALWAYS POSSIBLE BUT PUT YOUR PHONE DOWN/AWAY… IT HELPS YOU AND IT TELLS THE SPEAKER YOU ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT THING FOR ME TO FOCUS ON RIGHT NOW

  • ALLOW YOURSELF TO BE GRATEFUL FOR THE SPEAKER

  • TRY NOT TO INTERRUPT

  • DON’T FAKE ATTENTION

I will close by sharing two of my favorite quotes on the subject:


The first one is from Malcolm Forbes who said… ”The art of conversation lies in listening.”


The second quote is from Stephen Covey who was on the forefront of personal development. He said “most people don’t listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.”


Next time you are in a conversation try to truly listen and engage the techniques introduced above and see if you feel a different energy in the experience and possibly if the party speaking also responds differently than your typical interactions.


Listen to Tony Schiller's Episode on THIS. with Shauna Griffiths. REAL TALK. REAL LEADERS.


TONY SCHILLER

Tony is a veteran in the sports and entertainment marketing industry with a successful track record of building sustainable marketing platforms and relationships. Strengths include innovation, relationship building, strategic vision, building dynamic, measurable programs and intense, results-oriented negotiator. Most importantly, he is always focused on creating and maintaining a healthy culture that promotes trust, open communication and reliable, enjoyable teamwork. He focuses on leading with intention and integrity, and of course with keen attention to listening. His specialties include the creation of marketing platforms using sports, music and entertainment assets; brand building; partnership targeting; negotiation; project leadership; team building; dynamic activation; results based strategic development; fostering a strong, healthy culture.


PARAGON MARKETING

Paragon Marketing Group, LLC (PMG) is an engaging team of dedicated professionals passionate about the sports and entertainment marketing industry. PMG specializes in corporate consulting, event creation, content development and television broadcasting; working with national clients who count on our marketplace expertise and innovative approach to meet their challenges. PMG's work environment fosters innovation and rewards results in a relaxed atmosphere.

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