The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA


January 26, 2013

DAVE MASTOVICH | Become a better listener

JOHNSTOWN — It seems like an organization exists for just about everything. My company belongs to the Society for Healthcare Strategy & Market Development. We are members of the Mystery Shopping Providers Association. I’m part of the National Speakers Association.

You can probably rattle off a few that are specific to your industry or area of expertise as well.

So I guess it makes sense there’s an International Listening Association. Its mission is to advance the practice, teaching and research of listening throughout the world.

I hear that.

But I just enjoy their statistics, gleaned from years of studying the good, the bad and the ugly of listening. Here are a few nuggets:

• 85 percent of what we know we have learned by listening.

• 75 percent of the time we are distracted, preoccupied or forgetful.

• We only recall about 50 percent of what was said immediately after we listen to someone talk.

• In total, just 20 percent of what we hear will be remembered.

• Less than 2 percent of us have had formal education about listening.

• People listen through one of four primary styles: People-, time-, action- or content-oriented. Females are more likely to be people-oriented and males are more likely to be time- or action-oriented.

Say what?

I’m thinking it means listening is vital to leading, managing, marketing and selling.

Your personal productivity and your company’s success will be enhanced via better listening.

With that in mind, here are ... drum roll please ...

10 Ways to Improve Your Listening:

• Let the speaker finish his or her thoughts, don’t interrupt.

• Keep an open mind, don’t judge.

• Listen without planning what you are going to say next.

• Give feedback.

• Pay attention to the speaker’s posture and body language.

• Stay focused.

• Show respect.

• Take notes.

• Make eye contact to keep the speaker at ease.

• Put as much effort into listening as the speaker puts into talking.

Better listening leads to better results. And you don’t even need to join an organization to improve ...

Just listen.

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