What's your personal brand?

Listen Up.

Posted on: Monday, November 14, 2016 Category: Blog (51)
Uncategorized (59)

We often think of people with presence as the loudest person in the room.  The one you can’t miss.  The one with the buzz around them, making everyone laugh.  In fact, these people are usually firmly in the third circle – judging others and absorbing their energy.  They are exciting at first, but they can become exhausting.

The way that we listen to others significantly impacts the presence that we have.  In the late 90s, Active Listening was all the rage.  Many of us were sent to corporate retreats to learn how to style open-ended questions and repeat what had been said to us, back to the speaker.  While these techniques had some use, you could always tell someone who had been to an Active Listening workshop.  It often came across as slightly stunted.

Here is another way to think about presence – just in the way that so much meaning is in how you say something, there is also meaning in the intent of the person speaking to you.

There are ‘filters’ that we apply to how we listen – these are types of biases and they can significantly impact what it is we actually hear and whether we thoroughly understand the speakers intent.  Common filters are:

  1. Confirmation – inside our head, we say ‘I knew that’, ‘I know that’
  2. Assessment – ‘I agree’, ‘I don’t agree’, ‘That’s not true’, ‘That’s not right’, ‘They don’t know what they’re talking about…’
  3. Time-saving – ‘Get to the point’, ‘What’s the bottom line?’, ‘This meeting is running on’, ‘We are getting nowhere’
  4. Utility –   ‘How can I use this?’, ‘How is this good for me/my team?’
  5. Value – ‘This will make me look good’, ‘This will help me get stuff done’.

At the end of the day, there is no such thing as objectivity.  Even a judge is not objective – they are judging based on past experience and knowledge.  So understanding your own filters will help you to listen better and have greater presence.

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