Christmas parties make me realize how I dislike groups of people I really don’t know. It’s hard to say “I don’t know you” and proceed in launching the conversation. My inner shyness roars loudly.
When conversations happen, I click into “interview” mode. Asking questions and while they’re answering, I feel if I don’t have a question prepared, there’ll be a horrible, awkward silence.
I need to listen more. Risk silence; and really digest what I’ve just heard.
As the year grinds to an end; are you listening? Or are you preparing to do/say/make/produce something else (because you fear the awkward silence of your office/business)?
In the next 2 weeks take the time to listen. You must.
- Listen to yourself. Often business owners don’t have time to listen to ourselves. You need to take time and ask yourself questions like: What did I enjoy doing this year? What gave me the most fulfillment? What didn’t work? If I could totally guess based on intuition about this next year, what should I be planning for? Then listen. Take notes.
- Listen to your team. I hear from my team all the time, but I quickly create solutions out of their concerns. Instead, ask them questions where they don’t feel like you’re interrogating them. Tell them seriously, “there is no right or wrong answer”. Ask what they enjoy, what their goals are, what they perceive to be successes this year. Then listen. Take notes.
- Listen to your friends. You do have close friends, right? If not, start now to develop friends that will be honest with you. Don’t defend or clarify them, instead… listen. Take notes.
- Listen to others. I met a businessman recently and he couldn’t believe I wrote or read blogs. He said, “I’ve never met anyone I’d be interested in learning from”. What arrogance. Right? But when’s the last time you read a book? Blog? Article?
Yes, the time to act will come (stay tuned to my new year’s post). But for now, listen. Hear. Understand.