“Listening is an art that requires attention over talent, spirit over ego, and others over self.” – Dean Jackson
Listening is a powerful communication tool that’s frequently overlooked. When leveraged correctly, it can be especially valuable for navigating change. And most importantly, it can be the key difference between a successful or outdated business.
Few know this better than author and experience consultant, Jake Jacobs. In our ninth podcast episode, How Listening Drives Change, he shares exactly how he guides executives through the process of change.
Here are Jake’s top two tips on how listening can upgrade your communication skills.
CLARIFY WHAT ISN’T GOING TO CHANGE
If your business is in a state of transition, Jake stresses the importance of highlighting continuity. He specifies that what you’re not going to change is equally important to what you will change. Jake even shares a simple, two-step exercise he recommends to clients regularly!
- STEP ONE: Make a list of all the things that will change with your organization
- STEP TWO: Make a list of what won’t change with your organization, but make this list twice as long as the first
By giving this activity to different levels of middle management and executives, people begin to feel much more empowered knowing they’re standing on firm, familiar ground. This also enables them to feel more prepared to leap into the unknown and achieve uncharted territory. It helps everyone accept what changes need to be made and inspires the fatigue about transformation to gradually go away on its own.
LISTEN TO UNDERSTAND, NOT TO RESPOND
When someone speaks, most of us have a natural tendency to start formulating our response before they’re even finished. Rather than listening attentively, we’re simply waiting for our own turn to talk. The price to pay for this is the missed opportunity to hear and understand what the other person is saying.
Jake encourages us to flip this mentality. He encourages us to listen to understand and appreciate another person’s perspective. Seeing the world through the eyes of another is a powerful chance to discover new insights and ideas. Without it, we remain hard-headed and close-minded, a detriment to leaders across all industries.
Practice active listening often. Work at it over time and be patient with yourself. It will grow your communication skills and inspire others to follow suit.
Listening is a powerful communication tool that can seriously upgrade your personal and professional business goals. Learn more by listening to the full Jake Jacobs episode here.