I find myself thinking about, reading about and working on the skills of influence more all the time.
Why? Because I am interested, because it is a vital part of the work I do and what I teach. And because it seems lots of recently written material about the topic seems to show up in my life (in part because of what I’ve already said).
Which makes reading what I will share here all the more useful, since it wasn’t written recently, but long ago. . .
“To listen well is as powerful a means to influence as to talk well, and is as essential to all true conversations.”
– Chinese proverb
Questions to Ponder
When I try to influence others, how much time to I spend listening?
In the next few hours, what situation will listening more best serve me?
- Spend 15 minutes creating a list of strategies and reminders to help you be a better listener.
- Then make a conscious effort to listen better for the next two days.
- At the end of your two days of conscious practice, return to your list and reflect on what worked and what didn’t.
- Learn from your reflection and go back to step 1.
When leaders talk about improving their skills, listening always shows up on a wish list. Everyone realizes it’s importance and value. Yet if I ask leaders why it is important, influence rarely makes the list.
Perhaps this connection between listening and influence will be instructive to you, and perhaps it will help you decide (in the end, it is a decision) to be a better listener.
While in this forum I don’t have the ability to listen to you (except through your comments), I hope that this short post has influenced you to renew your purposeful practice in the skills of effective listening.