Host: How can I master the ten basic steps of listening?
Sean McArdle: Like anything that is complex, the easiest way to master it is to take it one piece at a time. I have a friend who learned how to play the harmonica and he got so good in fact, that he ultimately went up playing with the National Symphony Orchestra. He learned how to play the harmonica one bar at a time, four, five, six notes. So, he would master those perfectly and then move on. It is called incrementalism.
The best way to master listening process is to take the ten steps and practice one of them everyday, might be this simple act of tuning in. Well, I am tuned in, I am listening, I am leaning forward and might even put my hand up to my ear. So, for a whole day practice that. The next day, practice determining your role. Every time you listen to somebody, ask yourself this question, Who am I listening as? Is this my child wanting to be my friend or is this child need a parent? Is this a spouse who is talking to me as a lover or is this a spouse who is talking to me as my partner in the household who needs me to do something around the house? So, the next day you practice determining your role and so forth. When you get to suspending judgment, I suggest that you practice that for two or three days in a row and the way you do it is you just keep the list of ten things upon your computer or your desk and then just transfer one of them to a calendar and then all day, that day practice that one specific skill set. Overtime if you will do this say, 90 days in fact, you have got ten of them, it would allow you to go through the process nine times and you would actually start to develop the skills of an effective on purpose active listener.