Join Brenda Bailey-Hughes for an in-depth discussion in this video Setting listening goals, part of Effective Listening.
- We'd like to leave you with a simple strategy for putting what you've learned about effective listening into action. There's lots of research out there, starting with neuro scientific studies from the early 60s, saying that it takes anywhere between 21 days and eight months to break or make a habit. We want you to focus on a realistic one month challenge. The listening challenge that we propose is for you to pick two weakest listening behaviors, and focus on those for 30 days straight.
Look back to chapter three, and pick your two weakest listening behaviors, print out the 30 day worksheet, and start on it today. Fill out the dates for the next month in the two areas for your listening improvement, at the start of each day think of an occasion in your personal or work life where you really need to work on listening. Simply chart out the plan and checkmark when you've got it done. For example, if in the next 30 days I'm going to be working on paraphrasing and matching emotion, I will start filling out my 30 day chart.
My first day context is a plan to paraphrase what my colleague Sue asks me at the staff meeting, and I will just put on a checkmark for completion. On the next day I plan to show similar frustration when Brenda explains to me all the damage that the new puppy is doing to the house. Like with day one, I will check off with completion. - Follow these tips so that your practiced behavior can turn into a lasting habit. Make it visual, keep this sheet in front of you.
Whether it's in your car, on your desk, on your bathroom mirror, it must be visible. You could even take a picture and set a calendar reminder with the visual on your phone. Keep it simple, do not over think or over analyze. Think of your day ahead, do the listening behavior, and check it off. The physical act of writing it down is a powerful mental reminder of your new habit forming strategy. Set small goals, if measurement motivates you set a goal for 100 percent completion every 10 days.
Plan small, if rewards motivate you plan for tiny celebrations for each of your habit forming milestones. Be accountable, we left the most important part of habit formation last, accountability. Share your habit forming strategy with a friend or family member. Ask them to check you and your tracking form. Ask them to catch you practicing your listening behaviors, and help you celebrate your many milestones.
- Now after your 30 day checklist is filled out, and you're more attuned to your weakest of the six listening behaviors, consider repeating the process every six months. You may find new situations where you can practice your skills, and different people to benefit from your laser focus on listening. Whether you're listening for details or the big picture, trying to evaluate the content, or read the subtle cues, or listen with empathy, all listening types are important in different situations.
We hope that you've learned to call up the right type of listening, be aware of all the listening barriers that exist around you, and practice clarifying your role. We hope that you've learned how to be attentive to nonverbals, how to honor silence, paraphrase, match and mirror emotions, and clarify your understanding. - Tatiana and I have had a great time putting this content together, and sharing it with you. We hope you found it helpful, and use it to be a better listener, and an overall stellar communicator.
- Recalling details
- Avoiding distractions and the feeling of being overwhelmed
- Clarifying your role
- Using attentive nonverbal cues
- Paraphrasing what was said
- Matching emotions and mirroring