The P.A.

A weekly address from Patrick Adams,
President of St. Louis Community Credit Union

Be Still and Listen

On April 28th, 2014, posted in: Uncategorized by 3 Comments

Listen

I know a couple of people to whom I want to scream: “SHUT UP AND LISTEN.” I see them regularly. You’ve been there too. Listening can be hard on some people. We aren’t necessarily born with the skill. It is more of a learned behavior and many don’t learn. Sadly, listening will get worse before it gets better due to a world preoccupied and distracted with the handheld communication device of choice.

I describe listening as a participation sport. One has to be active. Passive listening is not good for anybody in the conversation. Active listening is hard. You can’t take what’s going to be said for granted. Many do just that and shift their focus to what they are going to say. If you’re like me, you can almost see it on their faces. Sort of that “hurry up dude, because I’m constructing my thoughts right now.” SHHHH, be still and listen.

Good listening is a disciplined activity comprised of probing and challenging the information garnered from others to improve its quality. Active listening will allow for fresh insights and ideas to be shared. Good listening can often mean the difference between success and failure in business.

Here are three ideas on how to become a better listener: show respect, keep quiet, and challenge assumptions. Practice these ideas and your business will get a little stronger.

Complex organizations need input from all levels. Every listener should feel comfortable in allowing others to share their thoughts in a conversation. That’s called respect. It helps to provide something unique to a thought. Having respect for someone else’s perspective may allow for improvement. Good listeners ask for all the information they need to make better decisions.

With patience and practice, you learn to improve the ability to SHUT UP AND LISTEN. Be quiet. Be still. Be riveted toward the speaker. Thoughtful moments of silence offer an invitation for others to speak up and bring out details on a topic, usually for the good.

Good listeners seek to understand – and challenge – the assumptions that lie below the surface of every conversation. Too many executives never open themselves to a shift in mindset and the possibilities that can be drawn from conversation with others.

By showing respect to your conversation partners, remaining quiet so they can speak, and opening yourself up to facts that challenge your beliefs, you can cultivate this valuable skill. Last I checked, we need to both challenge and engage in discussion.

I hope a couple of my colleagues read this blog and get the hint. They are notoriously bad listeners. I don’t think I’ve ever finished a thought without an interruption. They tend to be disrespectful, far from quiet (they are always counter-attacking before I can get out my unique perspective). As a result, they have never heard my challenging thoughts and I’m with them all the time! OMG.

3 Responses to “Be Still and Listen”

  • Michael Ringo says:

    I think this is a great philosophy problem is not many people apply it . Even on my job they tend to hold it against you to speak whats on your mind. Michael Ringo

  • Michael Ringo says:

    I would also like to see an email address for you so a coustomer can leave comments directly for you. At times talking to the members at the bank dont seem to do much good.

  • Michael,

    Thank you for taking the time to comment. It is unfortunate that many organizations don’t allow employees to share their thoughts.

    Your comments on my blog do come directly to me. However, if you prefer to keep your remarks private, please email me at info@stlouiscommunity.com. If I am not the appropriate person to respond, your message will be distributed to a capable staff member.

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