Three tips to improve listening skills

When leaders fail as communicators, in large or small settings, they fail for many reasons. Common mistakes include talking too much or talking down to the recipient. Sometimes a speaker may fail to really drill down on the audience they are addressing. Often, it’s simply a matter of not heeding advice they receive from trusted advisers on ways to improve their message, communications style and conversational tendencies.

In the end, it all boils down to poor listening skills. Speakers often forget to listen.

Everybody can become better listeners. Try doing these three things to become a better hearer:

  1. Ask
  2. Acknowledge
  3. Act

When engaged in genuine conversations, ask more questions than you think you need to ask.  Push yourself to ask one more question than you think you need to ask.

Acknowledge to the person you are talking to that you hear them. You can do this very simply.  Repeat back to them what you think you heard and get acknowledgment that you heard correctly.

Finally, take action.  In other words, follow up with what was discussed and agree to take action to fix what needs to be fixed, set another date to discuss progress or perform any other tasks.

Ask. Acknowledge. Act.  Listening is that simple.