President Franklin D. Roosevelt got tired of smiling that big smile and saying the usual things at all those White House receptions. So, one evening he decided to find out whether anybody was paying attention to what he was saying.
As each person came up to him with extended hand, he flashed that big smile and said, “I murdered my grandmother this morning.” People would automatically respond with comments such as “How lovely!” or “Just continue with your great work!”
Nobody listened to what he was saying, except one foreign diplomat. When the president said, “I murdered my grandmother this morning,” the diplomat responded softly, “I’m sure she had it coming to her.”
As a leader do you consider yourself a good listener?
Listening is one of the easiest things you’ll ever do, and one of the hardest.
How often have you heard these statements? You’re not listening to me!”… “Stop.. I can tell by the look on your face you are already thinking of what to say next.” “Oh my goodness, that’s not WHAT I said!”
If you hear any of these comments coming from your customers, your employees, your friends, your family, perhaps it is true you are not listening. In being a leader listening is the art of connecting with another person so you fully grasp and understand not only what they are saying, but also what they are feeling.
Whether you are in sales, management, teaching, etc.. here are four types of listeners to be aware of. I can raise my hand for being all four of them at times. Being aware of this and how you listen and what you do with what you hear will determine your success as leader.
- The Token Listener– The yep person, yep, I hear what you are saying. The message is simply goes in one ear than out the other. They may nod their heads. But their mind is elsewhere. The Token listener pick up less than 20% of the entire conversation and only listen for cues as to what they should say next.These listeners are not good at listening between the lines, meaning they will often miss information that could have been helpful to them. These are the types of listeners that people tend to give up on the most; they dread having to deal with them and do not look forward to any type of interaction with a Token listener.
- The Frosting Listener– This where the listener simply gets excited about an idea aka frosting on the cake. However they fail to dig below the surface. And because they haven’t dug deeper into the situation their excitement is temporary.
- The Hard Headed Listener– A pastor wanted his congregation to really take ownership of his sermon. He gave the SAME sermon for four weeks. At the end of the church service an attendee came up to him and said. “Pastor do you realize you have given the SAME sermon for four weeks.” “Yes, I realize that. You see once everyone starts doing what they asked me to tell them I will change it up.”Hard Headed listeners they are truly listening to your message but they are not receiving your message. This type of listener will focus and listen on what the other person has to say. They are not good at listening between the lines and tend not to look for clues as to what the other person may not be sharing with them.
- The Doubter-You disagree with just about everything. No matter what anyone says, you always have to find some loophole, spout a snarky comment or come up with an opposing point of view, just for the sake of argument.
- The Sincere Listener-I heard one time that the gauge of a good conversation is when a person leaves the conversation, not saying, “What a good conversation!” but “I will do something! That’s the sincere listener. A Sincere Listener is curious they ask perceptive questions, want to learn and get a clear understanding of what the other person is sharing.
Betty Berzon once said, I care about who you are, who you have been, who you want to be. I open myself to you to listen and learn about you. I cherish you, not just my fantasy of who you are, not just who I need you to be, but who you really are…”
In conclusion, the act of listening is not the same as hearing. When someone is communicating with you, they want to feel like they’re talking to you, rather than at you, and that can only be done with a set of good listening skills and an understanding of the five type of listeners that can impact your business and relationships.
Are you listening? If so how are you listening?
Equip, Educate, Empower, and Encourage others to become better leaders!
Be great today!
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