Become a Better Listener with these 5 Skills

And even better?

Become a better listener with your Ho‘ohana Community…

“[This] makes me think of my husband who is training to be a therapist. I can see when he is tuned into his listening mode and it changes everything about the way we communicate. It makes me get to the kernel of what is bothering me sooner; without the exchanging of ideas, my own are allowed to emerge.”
Emma Newman, responding to a posting at Joyful Jubilant Learning called Listen More to Communicate Better, written by Phil Gerbyshak

Hmm. Do you have a listening mode you fall in and out of, like Emma’s husband does? Has it become recognizable to others you have conversations with frequently, so they can easily tell when you will be a better receiver than usual, or even a different receiver? As for Emma, I would bet that “it changes everything” about the way others communicate with you too.

Im listening... cant you tell?
I'm listening... can't you tell? You trying to tell me these ears might not be enough? Really?

I propose to you, that grooming a listening mode is akin to grooming any other skill: It is something you can proactively cultivate, something which could prove exceptionally useful to you (like learning to see with your ears). Your listening mode enhances your approachability, so you can more skillfully attract and handle insightful conversations. In fact, a skillful listener is one who turns every conversation they have into one of interesting new insights.

“A receptive ear gains more love and respect than a silver tongue ”“ don’t you think?”
Brad Shorr, within the same Joyful Jubilant Learning conversation

How about if we work on cultivating our listening skills together?

It is November 30th in some places of the world already, and thus as our Challenge Day 1, your November 30th will be the final day you can sign up for the 5-day challenge I am coaching within the Ruzuku alpha (when you sign up, you will be asked to note your time zone).

Are you in?

Still thinking about it and hoping for more of a preview? Okay… keep reading….

What are the skills we could be working on as we improve our listening?

I think there are several. Listening ranks way up there as a skill we can each work on our entire lives through, for every time communication shifts and changes, the way we listen must respond, shifting and changing as well. Just think about how this has happened in recent years with social media — there is definitely a smart way to listen on Twitter (5 Twitter Tips for Leading), on LinkedIn and other social networking platforms.

A few of the listening skills which immediately come to mind are patience, reading body language, and learning the art of interruption. Then there is that healthy respect for silence, for you can listen to silence just as you can listen to sound; noise is just one kind of signal transmitted in communications.

A skill a day to keep the noise at bay…

As your Ruzuku Guide for the alpha, I have picked 5 specific listening skills for us to work on, one per day. I have chosen these 5 in light of the favorable peer-to-peer coaching environment Ruzuku offers: We will take advantage of the Ruzuku alpha while we optimize our learning. In contrast, you can enhance skills like increasing your patience, or taking better notice of body language in other self-taught or localized team environments.

“Take 5” means what, exactly?

“Take 5” is a language cue carried over to this challenge from The Daily 5 Minutes. It is a known invitation in the workplace environments practicing Managing with Aloha organizational culture norms. When you ask someone if they will “Take 5?” with you, you are asking for a 5-minute conversation ending in a win-win agreement, a conversation you are ready to give them as a gift of listening.

Therefore, our Become a Better Listener challenge can really give managers who wish to learn the D5M a significant edge!

As I explained, we will not impose the D5M conversation on this challenge specifically, however we will frame it within your existing conversations. Since we only have 5 days to work with, we will also keep our focus on the learning to be gained within one-on-one conversations. This particular challenge will not address group discussions and passive listening (getting the most out of podcasts, audio books, that sort of thing.)

Here is a preview of the 5 Skills I have chosen:

Skill 1: Monday/ Learn to broadcast the signals of your Listening Mode.
Skill 2: Tuesday/ Converse to write a Relationship Story.
Skill 3: Wednesday/ Use well-placed Questions to Eliminate the Vague.
Skill 4: Thursday/ Teach Your Speakers to help you listen better.
Skill 5: Friday/ Make Conversation the Subject Matter.

Here’s how our Ruzuku Listening Challenge will work

When you click in to the Ruzuku alpha each morning I will have posted more about the day’s skill, explaining it more fully. Your challenge is to apply the skill via the conversations you have that day with others; you take the skill for a test drive. You then return to the alpha to post about your results, so you can gain feedback from me and from others there: We will all be working on the same thing so we can compare notes. Thus you learn exponentially — from your experience, and from the experience of others seeking to apply the same skill in the same window of time.

For any who may have been in our first Ruzuku alpha, this will differ from the Daily 5 Minutes challenge in that you will not be asked to frame a certain kind of conversation. The skills we will work on are anticipated to be those you can apply to the conversations you normally have within the course of your day as usual. You may need to initiate more conversations in the week to come (and hopefully you will have fun with this and you will want to), particularly if you are one who normally does a great deal of solo work or you work from home. However you will not be teaching others any defined conversation parameters — any conversations will do, and the more variety the better. For instance I have already heard from a few participants who are interested in comparing their virtual listening skills with their habits when speaking with others in person.

Are you ready to get started?

Just click on the badge below to be whisked to Ruzuku.

Remember: We all start together on your Monday, November 30th, and end together this Friday, December 4th. This sign-up will close for you by midnight of your own time zone on November 30th.

I know the learning will be rich, but I fully intend to have a lot of fun with this too!

See you there,

Take 5 to Learn 5 Skills and Gain (at least) 5 Benefits:

Take 5 Listening ChallengeThe “Take 5” Listening Challenge: Daily 5-minute Conversations focused on Becoming a Better Listener. Sign up here.

This challenge is free during this time we remain in the alpha stages of our Ruzuku offering. We will begin to charge for these programs shortly after we enter beta testing, so sign up now and give yourself the Christmas presents of peer-to-peer coaching in a terrific web-based learning environment. You will:

  1. Learn 5 Listening Skills, one each day
  2. Simultaneously improve the quality of your conversations within the process of this learning.
  3. Test your self-discipline as a lifelong learner within a self-coaching expectation.
  4. Be audience and peer-coach for others who are taking on the challenge in the same window of time.
  5. End the challenge with a sequential learning intention focused on the additional listening skills you wish to now pursue having this foundation.

Photo Credit: African Fennec Fox by Yvonne in Willowick Ohio on Flickr