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November 2006 – Motivating Others: Listen Effectively

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John Kline, PhD, inspirational and motivational keynote and after-dinner speaker and corporate trainer.

November 2006

Motivating Others: Listen Effectively

Each of the previous five columns presented a step to motivating others: inspire confidence, demonstrate enthusiasm, ask “what’s in it for others, delegate responsibly and help people learn from their mistakes. The sixth step is to listen effectively.

Since the July 2001 column gave tips for listening effectively and the July 2002 column addressed the difference between listening and just hearing, now we will focus on how listening to others motivates them.

  • Listening to others communicates our interest in them and what they have to say. People are motivated more by those who they think are interested in them.
  • Listening to others allows us to understand what they are really saying and what they mean. Therefore, we can be more effective in motivating others by reacting more accurately and positively to them.
  • Good listeners are perceived as being more honest and trustworthy. People are more motivated by people who they perceive to be honest and trustworthy.
  • Showing you are willing to listen—and making time for it—encourages others to talk. And when others talk you learn what is important to them; i.e., what motivates them.
  • Finally, listening carefully to others allows us to sense joys, fears, concerns and emotions that may give us keys to current or future behavior, thereby allowing us to adjust interaction with them and motivate them more effectively.

For more general information on how to be a better listener, see my book published by the Prentice Hall Publishing Company, Listening Effectively. Next month we will look at another step to help you motivate others.

Handle the mistakes of others right, and everybody wins—you, the other person, and the organization.

John Kline
Montgomery, Alabama

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