How quickly can you name the most important skill in business and life that nobody teaches? How quickly can you name the number one skill that successful people have? Are you watching the presidential debates and noticing the people who listen and answer the question asked are those who really stand out. Don’t you get annoyed when people don’t listen to you or answer questions you weren’t asking? What training did you get as a child on listening? As a grown-up?
In my youth all we were taught was that we listened poorly. Did you play the game “telephone?” Maybe they called it something else. But you and others got in a line or a circle. The teacher said something to the first pupil, who tried to say the same thing to the next pupil and then the next (whispering in each others ears). The last pupil would say aloud what was said to them and it would be compared to the initial phrase. What happened? The phrase was barely recognizable by the time it got to the last pupil. What did we learn? We are not great at remembering or hearing what is said to us. What training did we get to improve that? Nothing.
We all need to be better listeners and we can all be better listeners. I spent a year of my spare time studying and reading about listening. I reflected on thirty years experience as a lawyer, executive and entrepreneur. I reviewed every sales call I could remember. I reviewed every major negotiation I could recall. And, as I explain in the book, I married it up with my deep interest in martial arts, a thirty year hobby for me. What did I learn? You will find these lessons in my new book, Listening as a Martial Art.
Martial Arts is about openings and exchanges in both the physical and mental realm. Conversations are exchanges also and my first insight, which led to the book, is how similar a sparring match is to an argument. How a great sales call reminded me of watching and training with world champion Brazilian Jiu Jitsu competitors. Beautiful and constructive dialogue is like Tai Chi or even a well executed karate kata.
Teams that include bad listeners are dysfunctional. Companies and institutions have cultures of listening, or not. If you really train yourself to listen, you won’t need to take a note on sales calls. Diversity of input requires drawing out introverts. Listening to introverts is different than listening to extroverts. These are all lessons from my book.
Great listeners are loved and admired.
Start your Listening journey today. You will begin as a white belt and work your way to black belt as you work through the short readable guide.
Good luck on your personal journey to be a better listener! You can begin your journey here:
Sincere best wishes,
Cash Nickerson @cashnickerson #listeningasamartialart
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