In the skills listed under the gamut of “communication”, the corporate workforce skips over a key focal point that can greatly enhance their core; listening as an elite form of negotiation. Now you may ask, listening, oh that seems like an easy technique to master, but contrary to popular belief, listening is not the same as hearing. One way to listen to is to stop asking questions.
When you listen, you really just listen.
Do we really listen?
For communication to be effective, it has to be looked at as a loud clap with both hands whereas, regrettably today, mediocre attempts are made in both verbal and written communication to ensure this harmony. To take it to its heightened sense of artistry and clout, understanding its ABC’s is crucial. Take Richard Mullender - a former hostage negotiator and his fundamentals of “Elite Listening” for example. In his rich span of 25 years of experience working with the London Metropolitan Police, he has had grave situations with the Taliban in Afghanistan and even played a major part in the intelligence that led to the rescue of Professor Norman Kember in Iraq in 2008.
As a hostage negotiator, listening counts for a huge part of that equation. With scenarios ranging from a face-to-face to absolutely no visual of the perpetrator at all, Mullender honed in on his elite skills to put his subjects at ease and carry out a powerful negotiation. If you could talk a gunman into handing over his weapon or even persuade a terrorist to reveal the location of a kidnap victim, it is proof enough that highly competent communication skills are the key to gaining trust, exerting influence and successfully managing any situation.
The difference between Listening and Hearing
A common mistake that is observed in most corporate workforces is that employees hear, but do not acknowledge the values put forth on the table by the opposing end, effectively making it a fruitless exercise in negotiation. It is easy to confuse the two, but the basic characteristic of a good “listener” is the ability to accurately accept and decipher or illustrate intelligence in the communication mechanism. One must not aim to be the loudest in a room full of caterwaul, as cacophony leads to nothing.
How can we engage professionals through listening?
In the proverbial “corporate work floor” so as to speak, cultivating a sense of elite listening is immensely paramount. Imagine a conference room full with crossing agendas and mindsets, one will achieve nothing by shouting over the noise. Instead, engage those at the other end by preparing yourself to listen effectively and not be distracted by any other thoughts.
If your career path has led you to a leadership role, engaging with your team and letting their voices not just be heard, but really listened to is what constitutes true employee engagement. In the cycle of attention, feedback and support, these elite skills will not only inspire confidence in the organisation but also affect the overall performance and development. When professionals engage in effective listening, they are on the road to creating valuable and trustworthy relationships in the workforce.
Elite listening is a skill that should be on top of the binders of every employee, individual, entrepreneur or professional as it is a key factor in creating better compassionate leaders in the current and future generations to come.
The Benefits of Elite Listening
In the advanced corporate practices today, it is these focussed skills that will help a high-level executive such as CEO or even a management trainee gain an edge and improve the performance of the company and its business. Every day new battles are fought- right from the sales pitches to HR practice issues; negotiation is a skill that they carry in their briefcase. In fact, it is so in-demand, that it is taught as a training program in many companies as it leads to increased customer satisfaction, a boost in productivity and a surge in information distribution. All of these factors contribute greatly to continued success with creativity and innovation at its helm.
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