As a leader your job is to create your organisation’s future and turn it into reality. However, as anyone who has been in a leadership position knows, implementing your intentions requires engaging people – and that means getting them to listen to you. This TED talk by Julian Treasure offers some fabulous tips about how to speak in a way to get people to listen.
However, the number one rule of getting people to listen to you is being willing to listen to them! Listening is not a passive thing, you might be quiet when someone is speaking to you but if you are waiting for your time to talk, or assessing and evaluating what they are saying, or silently arguing with what they are saying or thinking about something else altogether that what they have said is reminding you of – then you are not listening!
Because listening is largely invisible to us, and we don’t get taught about it in school, we can be very unconscious of exactly how we are doing it. Many people have heard of the term ‘active listening’, but I prefer the term ‘conscious listening’. In terms of communication, my belief is that listening is 100 times more powerful than speaking, that 98% of communication happens through listening, 2% through speaking.
I am not saying that speaking is unimportant, but if you only work on speaking and treat listening as this passive thing that happens in between you will lose out.