Taking Responsibility for Active Listening

Tommy Lasorda, retired baseball manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers said, “In baseball and in business, there are three types of people. Those who make it happen, those who watch it happen, and those who wonder what happened.”  Active listening will make it happen.

A few weeks ago I talked about positive versus negative listening patterns. Were you able to practice positive listening so you could discern whether the person preferred Saturn or Neptune?

The dialect of each planet can become a second tongue to inhabitants of the other if positive listening is the translator and if there is real desire to learn the language.

Tips for establishing honest, productive communication with a Saturn include:

• Detail the specifics of the plan: who, what, when and where.
• Be factual.
• Show documentation of successful applications.
• Reduce risk factors where possible.
• Explain why the plan makes sense.
• Use concrete and precise language.
• State step-by-step information or instructions.

To communicate effectively with a Neptune:

• Focus on the purpose and end result.
• Point out future benefits.
• Keep the details to a minimum unless there is a specific request for elaboration.
• Give the global scheme or “big picture.”
• Take advantage of opportunity when it is available.
• Ask for current and long-range implications.
• Talk in general terms; bottom line.

When we begin to take responsibility for actively listening to the person from another planet, and when we develop the skills of translating what we hear so that we might truly connect with their vision, communication breakdowns rarely happen. Then, respect is established and trust ignites.

Sandra Ford Walston is known as The Courage Expert. She is a learning consultant, speaker, internationally published author of COURAGE, trainer and courage coach.

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