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The art of listening

The art of effective listening is essential to clear communication. and clear communication is necessary to management success.

James Cash Penney

The keys to any business startup, product brand launch or customer experience initiative is to eliminate or at least minimize as much risk as possible from the equation. There are a few ways to learn in this word – one is my trial and error ( think painful ) and the other is to learn from other’s mistakes and successes ( think listening – less painful ). Finding communities in which you can explore and learn from other business owners that are finding solutions to similar challenges is powerful ally in our fight to be #1 for our business.

Finding ways to improve your skills as a listener can be harder than you might think. In today’s world our emphasis has turned to our mobile devices, phones, laptops and tablets on a level that grows each and every day. So, returning to learning how to be an effective listener may take a few refreshers to relearn that essential skill. Here’s a few keys:



One of the most important attributes for any leader, manager, owner, customer service team member, or just all around good person is empathy – learn the importance of this fundamental & work towards filling this into each of your relationships. From employees, to customers to partnerships across your business having empathy will energize your goals and lead to a better ability to listen and learn. In the new environment created from Covid19 and the social unrest across the United States in 2020 has required all of us to learn how to better relate to each other and understand the wide array of emotions and challenge that each of us are now facing. Understanding these challenges and interpreting the difference is essential in reaching your audience and delivering an experience that aligns with our company’s mission & empathy plays a central role in that process.

empathy ĕm′pə-thē►

  • n.The ability to identify with or understand another’s situation or feelings: synonympity.
  • n.The attribution of one’s own feelings to an object.
  • n.the intellectual identification of the thoughts, feelings, or state of another person
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If you are actively listening, it may seem challenging to finding the appropriate time to jump in and ask your questions. It may be more of an art than science, or maybe it’s just timing. But, think through the importance to building rapport with the partner in your conversation. Rapport, is developed through active listening and asking questions to clarify your understanding of their story.


Again, often a challenge for type A personalities, as hard as listening can be for those that love to hear themselves speak, not interrupting is an essential part of active listening. Just as any skill may require practice, patience, and repetition to fully exercise – take the time to be introspective during your next conversation and grade yourself – you’ll learn a lot about skill set in not interrupting.