The Speed Of Listening: 3 Skill Enhancers

One of the least developed skills of executive leaders is listening. In my experience great leaders are often great listeners, but most expect others will listen while they orchestrate. This is compounded by the fact that most of us speak at a rate of 125 words per minute while we have the capacity to understand up to 400 words per minute. No wonder caffeinated executives can barely sit still and listen!

Here are three ways to improve the depth of your listening skills:

  • As you listen, anticipate the speaker’s point. If you are close or right, some learning has been achieved. If you are incorrect, you can consider why this is the case while increasing your attentiveness.
  • Identify the elements of how the speaker builds a case, including facts and emotion. Attuning to their logic helps you to understand the ultimate premise and how it compares to your perspective.
  • Mentally summarize the key points the speaker is making throughout and use this information to organize any subsequent questions.

The people who work with you intuitively know whether or not you are a good listener and it affects what they share. It’s tough to be an effective leader when co-workers refuse to discuss critical information with you. In fact, it can seriously impair your performance.