I’ve kept the same laminated note card on my desk for almost 20 years. I picked it up at a Steven R. Covey presentation called “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.” That’s also the title of the book he published in 1990 – one of the top five best business books of all time – and it’s the header on my little card listing the seven habits.
“Seek first to understand, then to be understood” is Covey’s Habit 5. And it popped up in a great piece this week on cbsnews.com’s MoneyWatch, titled “The Number One Skill,” by Mary Goodman and Rich Russakoff. But before you get to their list of six easy tips to help you go from poor listener to great listener, be prepared to answer which of the five bad listening habits you might be guilty of. (That first one is a killer.)
And then, when you’ve listened effectively, when you’re ready to respond thoughtfully and be understood, remember that the tone of your voice often communicates more accurately what you’re thinking than your words do.