Category Archives: Dean Brenner

Why Being a Good Listener is More Important Than Ever

Why Being a Good Listener is More Important Than Ever

Listening is a big topic at The Latimer Group. We write on our blog and teach in our workshops about things like active listening and listening bias, as well as some specific tactics on how to listen better. But today I want to write about why being a good listener is so important.

Listening, at its most basic level, is essentially a commitment to two-way communication. If I refuse to listen, then I am only interested in communication in a single direction — from me to you. But that kind of communication is selfish and short-sighted.

There are many challenges of 21st century communication and leadership. And the common denominator of these challenges is that no one really listens to anyone anymore. Everyone is so obsessed with being heard, that no one takes the time to hear!

As I often do, I relate this business challenge to the relationship I have with our young son. He asks a million questions, every day, and everything we ask him to do is greeted with questions as to why. Emily and I made a pact with each other when he was born that we would always try to be patient with him, and that we would always encourage him to ask questions and have a vibrant mind. So far, so good. But encouraging questions all the time is exhausting! There are many times I wish that he would stop asking questions and just do what we ask him to do. That might feel good in the short term, but it won’t pay off long term. Why? Because we don’t want a child who just shuts up and does what he is told. We want him to think, to seek to understand, to be alive every moment of every day.

And that, at its essence, is why listening to colleagues and being committed to two-way communication is so important. Do you want people who just do what you tell them to do? Or do you want people who think for themselves, and have the confidence to ask questions and make decisions? I think the answer, for most of us anyway, is the latter.

Make long-term investments in your people and your organization. Create an organization where people are encouraged to think, discuss, debate, and yes, disagree. And to create this kind of an organization, we must set a tone for two-way conversation, which by definition, means we have to know how to speak and how to listen.

Good luck!

At The Latimer Group, our individual Coaching services are highly customized and designed to help you achieve your specific goals. Typical engagements focus on developing skill sets in Leadership Communications, Public Speaking, and Executive-Level Business Presentations. To learn more, e-mail us at info@TheLatimerGroup.com

 

The Added Benefit of Speaking Well

The Added Benefit of Speaking Well

Have you ever listened to someone who speaks really well? Who gets to the point? Who makes the point clearly? Who doesn’t waste your time and makes the message valuable? It is SO nice when that happens, right? It is so refreshing when a presentation or a conference call or an important conversation is efficient… Continue Reading

Communication Leadership: Learning To Deliver On Public Speaking

Communication Leadership: Learning To Deliver On Public Speaking

Originally published with the Forbes Coaches Council at Forbes.com on September 8, 2017. Authenticity and confidence: These are the key elements of a great speech delivery, but developing these elements can feel like bottling lightning. Sometimes we seem to think they are qualities you are either born with or not. People say, “I’m just not a… Continue Reading

Communication Leadership: Learning to Document

Communication Leadership: Learning to Document

Originally published with the Forbes Coaches Council at Forbes.com on August 23, 2017. When I teach a seminar, I often ask about the attendees’ process of putting together a presentation. “How many here start their preparation by opening up a new PowerPoint, or pulling out an old slide deck and repurposing it, or taking a… Continue Reading

A Great Way to Think About Your Next Meeting

A Great Way to Think About Your Next Meeting

Last week, while teaching a client workshop, one of the participants verbalized a great way to think about business meetings… specifically, a great way to think about the level of information you need to be able to discuss. The participant described the difference between an “index card meeting” and a “full binder meeting.” Some meetings… Continue Reading

Make Them Care. Make Them Feel The Problem

Make Them Care. Make Them Feel The Problem

Getting people to listen to you in today’s modern workplace is hard enough. We write about that challenge all the time. But once you get people to hear you, your challenge is not over. Getting people to hear you is a great first step… but only a first step. The next step, which is also… Continue Reading

Communication Leadership: Make the Message

Communication Leadership: Make the Message

Originally published with the Forbes Coaches Council at Forbes.com August 8, 2017 What’s the first step in crafting a persuasive presentation? For many people, the agony of the blank page sends them straight to the slide deck. Maybe you have a template to work with, maybe you can pull up some visually interesting data, maybe you… Continue Reading

Communication Leadership: Learning To Assess

Originally published with the Forbes Coaches Council at Forbes.com July 25, 2017 For years, I’ve been intimately involved in the process of training Olympic-level athletes for the U.S. Olympic Sailing Program, both as an athlete myself and eventually as Chairman and Team Leader for all of U.S. Olympic Sailing. At that level of competition, there… Continue Reading

Expand Your Leadership Vocabulary

While Dean enjoys a little vacation time with his family, we’ll revisit some of The Latimer Group’s most popular posts. This is a great one for #LeadershipMonday. Hope it’s a great week. ~The Latimer Group I came across something worth sharing with you, that I think will help you refine your leadership vocabulary. If you… Continue Reading

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