The Most Important Communication Skill is…..

            I received several wonderful answers to last week’s question,”What is the most important communication skill?” 

            Irene wrote, “One has to really have a sharp focus on the main objective of what you want to communicate. Clear your mind of preconceptions, misconceptions, and negative associations towards the listeners. Deliver the subject with genuine caring about what the listener can gain. Really care about the receiver and not just your opportunity to speak.”  Without a doubt objectivity and empathy are crucial. 

            Paul answered, “Coming across as credible and on top of you game.”  Credibility is so important. I've actually used the sales slogan, "Credibility is job #1" as a theme at important sales meetings.  

            Teresa was right-on when she replied, “I think listening and understanding others first is an important communication skill.”  Thank you all for communicating effectively. 

            At school we’re not taught very much about listening.  Most of the time is focused on writing and other forms of communication, and yet we spend much more time listening than we do writing etc. 

            When we are talking 1-on-1 or in a group perhaps at a business meeting or in an interview, deep and intuitive listening is essential to understanding.  We listen deeply in order to hear the words and then extend ourselves by recognizing what the true meaning is in-between the words.  People reveal themselves through the energy, attitude, and perspective of their words. 

            I was trained as a coach at the International School for Professional Excellence in Coaching iPEC in Shrewsbury NJ.  The curriculum emphasized intuitive listening and it’s one of the most useful skills in my repertoire.  The following are a few of the basics they taught me.  

            The point of intuitive listening is to connect with the other participants, lead the conversation, influence their energy in a positive manner, and motivate them to be effective. 

            What are the results of enhanced listening skills?  They encourage harmonious and empathetic relationships, raise integrity, foster emotional buy-in, reduce disagreement, and help parties move towards mutual understanding. 

            What to avoid?  Subjective listening is disrespectful.  To paraphrase Irene, “When we listen with an agenda in mind and our own personal interest is paramount, the words we hear are based strictly on our needs.”  Subjective listening is the tool of a person who wants to control the conversation and really isn’t interested in listening to the other person. 

            Speaker: I really don’t like my job.

            Subjective response: Yeah, I really don’t like mine either.

             What’s better?  The objective listener is clearly focused on the other person and that’s very helpful.  They aren’t thinking about how the information relates personally or professionally to the listener.  It’s an improvement and yet it can leave out the true meaning and message the speaker is trying to deliver. 

            Speaker: I really don’t like my job.

            Objective listener: It seems like your job isn’t working for you. 

             What’s best?  At the intuitive level all the sensory elements and intuition come into play.  We hear the words and notice the facial expressions’, tone of voice, pace of conversation, feelings, and the energy conveyed.  The focus is not superficial.  It is hearing what is really being said. 

            Speaker: I really don’t like my job.

            Intuitive listener: Not only isn’t your job working for you, but it seems like you’re really upset about it and I wonder what it means. 

             What to do now?  Answer these questions and make a plan of action to improve. 

  • What are your biggest obstacles to intuitive listening?  For example, what is my emotional state?  What is my agenda for the conversation and how is it influencing me? 
  • What can you do to listen more intuitively and really hear what the other person is saying? 
  • How can you build rapport with the other person? 
  • What energy are you projecting and how does that influence the dynamics of the conversation? 

             Would you answer this question for me?  What is one step you will take now to be a more intuitive listener?  Send me your answer to CareerCoachNJ@gmail.com.  Next week I’ll tell you.  

             If you are an executive or manager who is in need of removing obstacles to success and wants to make a difference in your career please connect with me and apply for a free strategy session at http://www.careercoachnj.com/free-coaching-session-guidance.html

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Brought to you by:

Neil Cooper
Certified Coach & Mentor
Career Transition and Leadership

Graduate of iPEC Coaching in Shrewsbury NJ
973-445-4200

CareerCoachNJ@gmail.com

CareerCoachNJ.com
LinkedIn.com/in/neilcooper711

Skype: CooperLeadershipCoaching

Twitter: @CareerCoachNJ

Everyone is a leader—either by choice or by default.
Whenever you interact with anyone else (and yourself) you are leading.
So the question is not “Will you lead?” but rather “How well will you lead?”

(c) 2012 – 2014

Please feel free to connect with me on Linked In at http://www.linkedin.com/in/neilcooper711

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