As a leader, one of the communications skills you must master is listening. Why? Listening is a fundamental building block of success. It is vital to establishing healthy relationships and fostering trust-based leadership. Also, listening is a critical skill to help you uncover and discern information.
Active listening requires you to engage your concentration and deepen your focus. As a result, you become fully present to take note of what’s within and between the words, in the tone and volume and around the pauses. And you are able to appreciate what others are feeling, perceiving and experiencing.
Listening with “The Echo”
As I developed my listening toolkit, I practiced many useful skills. One in particular provided a big step forward. That skill, known as “The Echo,” helped me consciously change how I listen and interact with others.
“The Echo” is the skill of echoing or repeating in your head what is being said. Essentially, your mind is absorbed in what others are saying and how they are saying it. You notice the words, tone, pauses and fillers. You internalize the communication. In doing so, you receive and interpret with more accuracy.
Concentration is required to employ this technique. And that concentration ensures full presence to the interaction at hand. It is impossible to use this technique while multitasking, interrupting, or holding on to a point you want to make.
With practice, “The Echo” becomes second nature. When pulled from the toolkit, this technique helps you “experience” others by:
• Acknowledging their points
• Recognizing where they are coming from
• Identifying what they aren’t saying but need
Undoubtedly, you will find yourself going beyond their words to empathize and relate.
You might also find an elevated curiosity. Curiosity is an ideal complement to “The Echo” to gain clarity and avoid misunderstandings. In order to understand more, you will desire to go deeper.
Effective leaders value the act of listening for increasing knowledge, inclusion and connection. How would you rate your listening? Ready to add “The Echo” to your toolkit?