Ready, Set …. Listen

August 25, 2014 by

“Oh, I’m sorry; did the middle of my sentence interrupt the beginning of yours?” – Unknown

Hello, Michigan State University.

To channel the game show Jeopardy for a moment, “the most important activity, when you are new in a job” – the answer is “What is ‘listen’?.” (With apologies for the theme song now running through your head.)

Active listening is critical whether you are 10 minutes or 20 years into a job. Early on, it’s critical to starting off on the right foot, lest you head down a path that has colleagues wondering why on earth you were hired. Later on, you need to make sure you keep listening, lest you miss an innovation, idea, or sign of impending disaster.

“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand, they listen with the intent to reply.” Stephen Covey

Listening without your mind, working on formulating a response, or being distracted by sights and sounds around you is hard. Be conscious of slipping into non-listening mode. One trick is to mentally repeat what the person is saying. Another, if worried you’ll forget a question or clarification, is to jot a quick note.

Here is a good infographic with facts about listening and communications on Ragans PR Daily website .

So again, hello Michigan State University. I’m delighted to be here and looking forward to listening and contributing.

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