Here are the top ten keys to effective listening, as suggested by the Sperry Corporation. Over 40,000 Sperry employees received training on better listening skills in the 1980s.
1. Find areas of interest – Don’t tune out dry subjects, ask “What’s in it for me?”
2. Judge content, not delivery – Don’t be distracted by poor delivery, look for the meat.
3. Hold your fire – Wait until you have received the whole message, ensure comprehension.
4. Listen for ideas – Get beyond the facts, listen for central themes and basic ideas.
5. Be flexible – Take fewer notes and concentrate more on the speaker and his/her message.
6. Work at listening – Relax and listen actively with facial movements, shakes or nods.
7. Resist distractions –This is for you cell phone junkies and laptop addicts. Put those away.
8. Exercise your mind – Use the speaker’s heavier content to stretch your mind. Dig in, don’t tune out.
9. Keep your mind open – Don’t get hung up on certain words, especially emotional ones.
10. Thought is faster than speech – Use that to your advantage: anticipate, summarize, weigh the evidence, and look between the lines.