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Peak Performance Listening According To Experts

One of the most useful skills for a leader is the ability to listen actively and effectively.  When everything is said and done, listening is the only way to really understand how a person feels, and thus assist that person in finding his or her motivation.

The following is a synopsis of an audio-cassette program dealing with the various concepts involved in listening effectively. Applying these concepts increases the potential for successful communication.

Effective Listening Skills

In his program Effective Listening Skills, CareerTrack 1993, Ron Meiss tells us that listening is one of the least taught skills. Is it any wonder that most of us are chronically poor listeners? In an effort to guide us on the road to recovery from this potentially deadly disease, Ron shares insights and techniques to ensure a permanent cure.

7 Principles of Communication

1.    Communication is a complex process which is at work 100 percent of the time.

2.    What the listener understands is regulated by his/her perception, and not by the speaker's intent.

3.    Communication happens only if we focus our senses on the activities related to it.

4.    As communication skills increase, stress decreases.

5.    Effective listening is one of the most poorly taught skills.

6.    Good communication depends on attitude (habit of thought) and is a learned skill.

7.    Communication is not a contract but a covenant: each must take 100% responsibility

Key Concepts of Verbal Reception

            Hearing is physiological                    Listening is psychological
            Hearing happens                               Listening is a choice

Skills of Effective Listening

1.    Assisting the speaker

o    openers - questions, statements, initiating comments

o    encouragers - voice signals or gestures expressing a desire to hear more

o    appropriate questions - open-ended queries to draw out the speaker

o    involved silence - using powerful attentive silence to signify listening

2.    Here is a recipe to guarantee Peak Performance Listening with your whole body:


L    - Lean towards the speaker

I     - Involved posture, facing squarely

S    - Smile to connect with the speaker

T    - Territory, distance from the speaker

E    - Eye contact, at least 60 percent of the time

N    - Non-distracting gestures to help communication 

3.    Mirroring the speaker: paraphrasing the thoughts in a way that imitates the sense used to originate the communication;

o    visual - picture words, eye related

o    auditory - linked to meaning, sound words

o    kinesthetic - linked to feeling, words expressing feelings

4.    Avoiding distractions (visual, sounds, feelings) that would take the listener's focus away from the intended message.

The Duties of Communication

                        SPEAKER                                         LISTENER
                        Speak loudly                                 Hear the verbal message
                        Speak clearly                                Strive to understand the words
                        Address the listener's interests             Express/find interest in the message
                        Be specific                                  Listen for the main ideas

Recipe for Effective Listening Skills Development

1.    Make a plan to take one or two actions which will improve your listening skills. More than two may result in dropping the plan before the end.

2.    For 30 days, practice this action every time the situation arises. A new habit normally is developed in 20-30 days.

Attitudes to Promote Effective Listening

1.    Listen to everyone as if there was going to be a test once the communication is complete.

2.    To really adjust your perception to the intent of the speaker, listen to how the person feels.

Quotes to Remember

"When I listen, I have the power. When I speak, I give it away." (Voltaire)
"What people want is for you to listen to how they feel." Ron Willingham
"Listening is one of the most poorly taught skills."  Ron Meiss

 ©Raymond Perras 1997-2013