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Ten tips for better listening that leads to better business results

January 17th, 2013

By Dave Mastovich

ListenIt seems like an organization exists for just about everything. My company belongs to the Society for Healthcare Strategy and the Mystery Shopping Providers Association. I’m part of the National Speakers Association. You can probably rattle off a few that are specific to your industry or area of expertise as well.

So I guess it makes sense there’s an International Listening Association. Their mission is to advance the practice, teaching and research of listening throughout the world.

I hear that.

But I just enjoy their statistics, gleaned from years of studying the good, the bad and the ugly of listening.

Here are a few nuggets:

  • 85% of what we know we have learned by listening.
  • 75% of the time we are distracted, preoccupied or forgetful.

  • We only recall about 50% of what was said immediately after we listen to someone talk.
  • In total, just 20% of what we hear will be remembered.
  • Less than 2% of us have had formal education about listening.
  • People listen through one of four primary styles: people, time, action or content oriented. Females are more likely to be people-oriented and males are more likely to be time or action oriented.

Say what? 

I’m thinking it means listening is vital to leading, managing, marketing and selling. Your personal productivity and your company’s success will be enhanced via better listening. With that in mind, here are…drum roll please…

10 Ways to Improve Your Listening

  1. Let the speaker finish their thoughts, don’t interrupt
  2. Keep an open mind, don’t judge
  3. Listen without planning what you are going to say next
  4. Give feedback
  5. Pay attention to the speakers posture and body
  6. Stay focused
  7. Show respect
  8. Take notes
  9. Make eye contact to keep the speaker at ease
  10. Put as much effort into listening as the speaker puts into talking

Better listening leads to better results. And you don’t even need to join an organization to improve…

Just listen.

David MastovichDavid M. Mastovich, MBA is President of MASSolutions, an integrated marketing firm focused on improving the bottom line for clients through creative selling, messaging and PR solutions. He’s also author of “Get Where You Want To Go: How to Achieve Personal and Professional Growth Through Marketing, Selling and Story Telling.” For more information, go to

Editors note: You could learn a lot about how to provide a thought-leader message from the way Dave Mastovich writes and structures his business advice columns. Note the focus, the statistics that make it meaningful, and the quick, short tips.

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