Now hear this!

How a little intention can help you dodge listening landmines and build better relationships all at the same time

A few days ago, I was privileged to have a conversation with deep listening expert Oscar Trimboli for the latest episode of Eggs (dropping later this week). Eggs is the weekly podcast I co-host with long-time friend Michael “DJ Ontic” Smith. The chat with Oscar was chock full of helpful tips and tricks for becoming a better listener. Also, he reinforced many long-held beliefs about the importance of listening in developing relationships both interpersonally and in business—although, is there really any difference?

However, an interesting thing happened during the run of our call.

Listeners to the show know, that sometimes I can get a little excited and be quick on the trigger to respond or to react with a comment to what’s being said —a mix between “The Interrupting Listener” and “The Shrewd Listener”—to pull a couple of terms from Oscar’s book Deep Listening. I’ve always blamed it on the creative brain moving quickly. However, knowing Oscar was an expert in listening, I made a conscious choice to be on my best behavior. I put on my listening cap for our conversation to avoid looking stupid when talking to a real pro.

There were a number of revelations that came from the conversation but a realization that I had at the end of the call, having more or less avoided stepping on any listening land mines was that the number one thing I needed to do to be a better listener and overcome my constant inclination to interrupt was just that—listen. By deciding to work a little harder than normal pre-conversation I was in the right frame of mind to hear the things that Oscar was sharing with our audience. As a result, I gleaned more knowledge in that hour and ten minutes with him than in maybe any interview I’ve conducted before his—and there have been many.

All that to make this point. If we focus on actually listening to our clients, friends, family, whomever before opening our mouths, the relationships we have and are developing can be so much more profound than if we coast through our conversations with a business-as-usual approach to communication. By merely being intentional and preparing yourself mentally before your next business meeting or a hot date, you will find the level of understanding you’re used to immediately replaced by a deeper and more meaningful conversation. It’s simple, just taking a few breaths and clearing your mind before the chat begins will do the trick.

Can you hear me now?  

Are you a great listener—or at least fancy yourself one? What tricks do you use to get the most out of your conversations? Let's talk about it! Share them here in the comments below or find me on the socials. Let's continue this conversation wherever the audience most suited to hear it can get involved - I am @ryanroghaar on Medium, Twitter and Instagram.