Simon Sinek is one of the coolest, most cutting-edge brilliant thinkers in management excellence and inspired leadership. I was a dazed insomniac, high on life and all its potential after hearing him speak last Spring.
Here are a few tips he wrote on his stellar blog about being better at listening:
Work to understand: Consciously work to understand the reason someone is telling what they are telling you. Don’t assume what they say and what they mean are the same. And don’t assume that the solutions they offer will fix the issue.
Ask specific questions: Don’t simply ask, “What do you mean by that?” after every statement someone makes. That’s frustrating for the person talking to you and it still relies on them to find the right words. Ask questions specific to the things they say. For example, if someone says, “I want to be a doctor,” instead of asking why they want to be a doctor, ask them what kind of doctor they want to be. When they answer, ask them what it is about that specialty that interests them. Very quickly you will get a much clearer picture of the kind of person this is and what their strengths are just from listening closely and asking pointed questions.
Restate what has been stated: Practice saying, “Let me see if I understand” to someone, then restate what you think they mean in your own words. They will either agree or disagree with you. More importantly, they will feel heard and you will work together to find clarity and common understanding.