Are You an 18 Second Listener?

Do some people only listen to you for 18 seconds, before they interrupt? Are you an 18 second leader or boss?  You may be surprised at the answer. Here is what renowned management guru, Tom Peters, has to say. 

As Tom Peters states in the video, “the single most significant strategic strength that an organization can have is not a good strategic plan, but a commitment to strategic listening on the part of every member of the organization.  Strategic listening to front line employees, strategic listening to vendors, to customers…..”

It is not just about what we do in our organizations or businesses. It is about what we do everywhere. For example, when I did Aerobics, I would place myself in the front of the class, listening to and following the instructor like he or she was a master of exercise. When they spoke, my body indicated my respect and appreciation of their every word and move. As a result, many began to see me as a colleague and focus a lot of their attention on me.  When we really listen to people, it gives them energy and motivation. They intern gravitate to us, because they need that support and inspiration.

In the next few week, I will be presenting some skills which show that being a really good listener is an intricate  skill that most of us (including me) do not have and absolutely need to learn. The focus will be on Robert Bolton’s description of 3 clusters of listening skills:

  • Attending Skills
  • Following Skills
  • Reflecting Skills

Like becoming a  superstar athlete or getting  a degree as a  medical doctor, it takes a tremendous effort to develop the required skills. We don’t just say I am a good listener, manager or friend and it is so. We must know how to put our mind and body, as well as our very awareness of our environment, into our communication, if we want to be master listeners. The resulting benefits can overwhelming impact our professional and personal goals.

Next week, I will provide details for the understanding and development of our Attending Skills. The other two will be covered in subsequent weeks. In the mean time, let me know if you have any questions, issues or scenarios you would like to see covered.

Copyright © 2011 M. Dawn Armstrong. All rights reserved.

One thought on “Are You an 18 Second Listener?”

  1. Dawn,
    This is such a crucial issue, in terms of gaining good people skills. I’m very interested in learning how to really listen to people in a way that helps me hear the heart of what they are saying; and also how to listen in a way that helps me remember what someone said. Looking forward to your future posts. Thanks.

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