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listeningQuite often, you can feel that yourself or others around you are trying to act quickly. Being given the information, make a decision, solve the problem and get onto the next task. Nothing is truer when you’re coming up the ranks and trying to prove yourself to colleagues and your industry.   This is also true at all stages of your career as there is always someone with more experience, or someone you are role modelling from who seems to just get it done quickly and intuitively. They just seem to get it right all the time (spoiler – they don’t!). Whilst it’s all well and good to have a crack, get a result –whether that be a good result or a fail fast result – there is a risk that you’ll fall into a trap and miss vital information. Missing this information will more often than not frustrate the person who attempted to give you this information in the first place. And if you don’t take a different approach with your response – you could find yourself stuck in the same cycle.

So what is this different approach? Well, all too often you’ll find that where someone is going wrong is from missing a very critical step. Listening.

Listen, listen, listen, and then listen some more. But make sure that you listen to the information that you’ve actually been given, don’t just draw connections forward or solve the problem based on what you think you know. Quite often people only listen with the purpose of replying, which means that you can miss a lot of critical information. Yes, you can leverage your experience and knowledge after the conversation or once you’ve mastered a particular skill, but try undertaking listening in the moment and as Stephen Covey says “seek first to understand, then to be understood”. Try making your response at each stage of the conversation based on what you’ve just heard. This will force you to slow down more, and learn to ask the right questions. Asking the right questions and really listening to the information given will enable you to respond in a way that best adds value to the person who is seeking it.