May 2, 2017
July 26, 2017


The Power of Listening

  • Simple Listening is not that Simple
  • Untying the Gordian Knot that is holding you back
  • The Power of Apologising

“Courtesies of a small and trivial character are the ones which strike deepest in the grateful and appreciating heart.” – Henry Clay

Smart Thinking Simple Listening is not that Simple “We have two ears and one tongue so that we would listen more and talk less.”Diogenes As I work with business professionals, some are surprised when I say that listening is one of the most underrated yet important skills for salespeople, managers and leaders to have. It is true that good business people are effective listeners. They actively listen both to the words that others speak and to the feelings behind the words. They are strategic in their approach to listening! What do good listeners do that makes them good listeners?

  • They probe for clarification.
  • They listen for a story, and for unvoiced emotions.
  • They empathise.
  • They summarise well.
  • They get rid of distractions while listening.
  • They keep the client talking by asking for more details that help them understand.
  • They encourage by nodding their head or giving a slight smile.
  • They ask how they might be of help.

What good listeners don’t do:

  • Good listeners don’t interrupt.
  • Respond too soon.
  • Editorialise in midstream.
  • Jump to conclusions.
  • Judge the speaker.
  • Try to solve the problem too quickly.
  • Take calls or interruptions in the course of a meeting
  • (which is a growing lack of respect that I frequently see).

Tom Peters, the brilliant business consultant and speaker, says that “listening is the ultimate Core Competence”:   Listening is … the ultimate mark of Respect. Listening is … the heart and soul of Engagement. Listening is … the heart and soul of Kindness. Listening is … the heart and soul of Thoughtfulness. Listening is … the basis for true Collaboration. Listening is … the basis for true Partnership. Listening is … a Developable Individual Skill.   “Listening is a magnetic and strange thing, a creative force. The friends who listen to us are the ones we move toward. When we are listened to, it creates us, makes us unfold and expand.” – Karl A. Menniger

The One Minute Motivator Untying the Gordian Knot that is holding you back   The origins of the “Gordian knot,” a term commonly used to describe a complex or unsolvable problem, can be traced back to a legendary chapter in the life of Alexander the Great.    As the Greek myth goes, in the center of the Middle Asian city of Gordium, King Midas had tied a chariot to a post with an intricate knot. A great oracle predicted that the man who could untie the knot would become Asia’s next king. Hundreds of men tried and failed at the endeavour.   A man approached, studied the knot, and with one sword strike, sliced the knot in two thus claiming his title as king. This man was Alexander the Great.   Alexander’s strength and his army’s might did not grant him the position of leader. His ability to think and rethink about a current challenge was the key to his rise. That, in essence, is what every good leader is required to do: solve problems creatively.   Thanks to the enduring popularity of the Alexander fable, the phrase “Gordian knot” has entered the lexicon as shorthand for an intricate or intractable obstacle.    What is the business lesson?    Most modern decision-makers want to be Gordian knot cutters, not knot studiers. They want to be bold, confident and smart in their use of information. Alexander, when faced with the problem of the Gordian knot, did not form a Gordian-knot committee. He did not ask for reports documenting the legend or describing the knot. Alexander did not ask for endless feasibility studies, financial analyses, risk studies, or legal opinion. He simply cut the knot.   What is holding you back today? Think outside the box and get out your sword…..

Wise Words “I regard apologising as the most magical, healing, restorative gesture human beings can make. It is the centerpiece of my work with executives who want to get better.”Marshall Goldsmith, What Got You Here Won’t Get You There: How Successful People Become Even More Successful

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Warmest Regards,

Eta Lyons