It’s quite peculiar how most communication courses, training materials, books and research focus heavily on delivering information (speaking) but not receiving it (listening), when these are equal parts of the communication process. Whether you are a C-Suite executive, a seasoned expert or just starting your career journey, one of the most crucial skills to master is deep listening, the next step after active listening. This blog is based on Oscar Trimboli’s book: How to Listen and explores how we can all develop deep listening skills and why they are so important.
The hidden key of deep listening
Deep listening is a skill that transcends the simple act of hearing. It’s about truly understanding and empathizing with what’s being said, going beyond the words to grasp the emotions and intentions behind them. Deep listening is not just about processing information; it’s about connecting on a human level.
A great listener makes you feel comfortable and welcomed, which becomes ever more important as you move up through the ranks in your career. However, training that skill can be challenging. A great way to overcome this is by actively working on improving your deep listening skills slightly in every conversation. Your colleagues, customers, friends, and family will notice the change and want to become great listeners themselves, opening a door for true and meaningful change.
How deep listening transforms leadership
How does deep listening fit into the toolkit of leaders? The answer is in its transformative power. When leaders become adept listeners, they unlock new levels of communication. They can understand their teams’ concerns and aspirations, anticipate client needs, and make more informed decisions.
Consider the example of a tech leader who actively listens to their development team. They not only hear about the challenges they face but also the innovative solutions being proposed. This leader fosters an environment where every team member feels valued and heard. It’s a small change in approach, but the results are substantial for every stakeholder, from customers to employees.
Building trust with your stakeholders
Listening goes hand in hand with trust, a cornerstone of successful leadership. People appreciate being heard and understood, and they are more likely to trust and collaborate with those who provide them that respect. At Transcends Marketing, we take trust building as a must. Trust through listening can not only transform how your internal teams operate but also ensures you “wow” your customers every time.
While deep listening can help us empathize with customers and fully understand their needs, “hearing” what is not being said elevates us to a great listener. Take time to notice any disconnects between what is being said and the speaker’s facial expression. By identifying what they are not verbally communicating, we can prepare for a crucial conversation or sudden change in direction, allowing us to continue delivering exceptional work that is tightly aligned with the client’s needs.
Listening in the digital age
The internet and remote work have introduced new dynamics to listening. Now, leaders must navigate challenges like video conferencing and asynchronous communication, while still being able to effectively deep listen. This requires a change in the way you communicate and listen to accommodate the digital transformation. Ensure you give your full attention to the speaker, catch yourself when you get distracted and refocus, ignore your app notifications and do not multitask.
So, the next time you find yourself in a meeting, or even an informal chat with a colleague, remember that listening is not merely a passive activity. It’s a powerful tool that can open doors, foster collaboration and drive success in the dynamic world of business.