"To learn from people, you have to listen to them with respect." - Marshall Goldsmith

“Are you listening to me?” 

Chances are, you’ve been asked this question before. If you hear it too often, it’s a good sign that you lack listening skills; and not listening to others, whether that be colleagues or family members, is a fundamental sign of disrespect. Think about it, how do you feel when you’re not being heard?

It’ a bad habit, and you got to fix it. Now. Are you listening? 

Listening is not the opposite of talking—just because you’re silent doesn’t mean you are actively listening. If you’re bored, distracted, or too busy concentrating on your own response, you’re listening passively.  

Learning how to be a great and “active” listener is vital to the success of your professional and personal life because your ability to listen is directly related to your ability to learn and improve. It separates you from the GREAT and the-not-so-great. 

It seems simple enough, but it’s not easy. 

When you’re supposed to be listening, are you already thinking ahead as to what you’ll say next? Or maybe you’re distracted or just plain bored. Either way, you’re not paying attention to what is being said, and your lack of attention will reveal itself in your response, frustrating the speaker when you’ve missed the point and fail to contribute in a meaningful way to the conversation.

If you’re not listening you won’t inspire others to speak up or share their ideas or collaborate with you in the future. Here’s why: people tend to not think highly of people with poor listening skills. Ouch.

Think about when you’re “set to impress,” such as when on a date or meeting with someone important. What are your listening skills like then? Probably a heck of a lot better because you want him or her to like you and you’re trying to make that person feel special.

In order to carry this kind of active listening forward into all of your conversations, you need to acquire some mental discipline (we will look at the 3 elements and the 5 steps to active listening in our next posts).

How would you rate your own listening skills on a scale of 1 - 10 (1 being poor, 10 being great)?

Join the discussion on sageCrowd’s Marshall Goldsmith Channel and learn the steps to better listening and share with others who are improving their listening skills.

Visit to find out more.

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