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Posted May 3, 2021

Listen. Learn. Lead.

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The last year has had a profound impact on how we want to interact with each other. Meetings have often been replaced by virtual calls. Socially distancing is built into our day-to-day. However, listening remains as important as ever, especially for leaders within an organization. This week’s Benefits Buzz guest, Whitney Johnson, has written plenty about the importance of listening and learning at work and in life. 

Watch our latest episode of Benefits Buzz for tips on how to boost your listening skills to be the best leader, colleague, and family member you can be. Or keep reading for five easy tips on how to nurture your listening skills. 

Listen now or subscribe!

Meditate

Studies have shown that meditation can have a number of brain-healthy benefits, including stress relief, improved emotional health, and reduced aging. Johnson has found it helpful in clearing her mind so she can focus on others in conversations. 

“It’s just so easy to be all over the place and have so much coming into our brain,” she said. “I feel like there’s continually a traffic jam in my brain. If I can practice meditating, that will help me have more of a meditative stance when I’m talking and listening to my family.”

Smile more

Sounds simple, right? Johnson said that displaying a positive attitude at the start of a meeting or conversation can go a long way in putting you in the right mindset to be the best listener. It also puts the person you’re talking to in the right mindset.

“Whenever you’re about to start a meeting, whether in-person or on camera, smile at them,” Johnson said. “When you are a leader, whatever you do is amplified. You’re smiling at them makes them feel safe. It makes them feel heard. It makes them feel like they matter.”

Look at them

Making good eye contact and looking directly at the person you’re talking with shows that they have your full attention. You’re listening. In that moment, you’re nowhere else but in that conversation. 

Affirm

Repeating something or building on what someone else says also shows that you’re paying attention. If they say something you agree with, let them know. If you have more to add, do so when the time is right. 

Ask questions

Being a good listener also means being curious about what you’re having a conversation about. Ask a question. Follow up on something they said. Doing so might help the person you’re talking to think through the subject of the conversation. 

“That willingness to ask even one additional question to clarify or say more about what matters to me,” Johnson said. 

Would you like to learn more from Whitney Johnson? Subscribe to her newsletter or check out her books

The information in this blog post is for educational purposes only. It is not legal or tax advice. For legal or tax advice, you should consult your own counsel.

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