Listen with an Open Mind

4 Mar

Just as I started my series on communication and the importance of listening, Yahoo announced an end to their “you can work from home” policy. What drove that decision? According to Yahoo’s new CEO, it’s because of the importance of communication and collaboration to becoming the absolute best place to work.

Will being closer together in an office improve communication?

Maybe … but maybe not.

Being good communicators is hard work.  Sure, being in the same location is helpful – but even more important is communication competence. That’s why I’m writing about listening. Because it is at the foundation of good communication.

PhotoSpinOffice Imagery© 2001 PhotoSpinwww.photospin.comTo prepare for writing this post, I looked up definitions of “to listen” and just loved the references to “listening with an open mind to be influenced by what you hear.”  I had never thought about that before. It requires an entirely different starting point before entering into a conversation. It means you shouldn’t prejudge what someone is going to say before they have actually had the chance to say it.

It makes such sense – but wow is it hard to do. Try it. The next time you talk to your boss, child, parent try to wipe the slate clean before your conversation.  Make it about them and not about you. Listen with the intent of having them change your mind.

It’s not easy. It’s what I do in a mediation, but my challenge this week will be to do it in every day life. Please join me in trying. I would love to hear from you about how you did.

More about listening next Monday.


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