Book: Time to Think, Listening to ignite the human mind
Author: Nancy Kline

Becoming a better listener is probably one of the most impactful ways of becoming more effective in life (professionally, family, friends, relationships). Or as described by Stephen Covey: one of the ways to increase your circle of influence is to first seek to understand, then to be understood.

The world around us is noisy, we are in a hurry, plenty of things on our plate, easily distracted by technology etc. What can we do to become a better listener? Here are some great takeaways to be a better listener and to create a Thinking Environment where people feel understood and are stimulated and encouraged to think for themselves.

  1. Attention: listening with respect, interest and fascination.
  2. Incisive questions: removing assumptions that limit ideas.
  3. Equality: treating each other as thinking peers.
    • Giving equal turns and attention.
    • Keeping agreements and boundaries
  4. Appreciation: practising a five-to-one ration of appreciation to criticism.
  5. Ease: offering freedom from rush or urgency.
  6. Encouragement: moving beyond competition.
  7. Feelings: allowing sufficient emotional release to restore thinking.
  8. Information: providing a full and accurate picture of reality.
  9. Place: creating a physical environment that says back to people ‘You matter’.
  10. Diversity: adding quality because of the difference between us.

In line with the above but probably a more pragmatic start to become a better listener is Julian Treasure’s acronym RASA:

  • Receive (pay attention to the person)
  • Appreciate (small indications you’re listening)
  • Summarize
  • Ask (questions)

Watch Treasure’s TED talk below.