The Listener

photo of men having conversation
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He sat there, seemingly captivated by what the person was saying. Periodically, he would nod his head up and down, like he was approving something the person was saying. The person talking was relaxed, totally engrossed in what she was saying. Every once in awhile she would stop talking, catching a breath or organizing her thoughts. The listener would still be looking intently into her eyes, and as if the pause was a clue, he would ask a question to further clarify something she has said. He would ask: “Did you mean _____ to be that? Is that what you were saying?” Responding positively, she said, “well, not exactly, what I meant was….” And with that she continued to pick up where she left off.

The conversation went on for about 15 minutes, she was doing most of the talking and the Listener, listening. He occasionally would pepper in a few questions, but mostly listened.

After the conversation, the talker seemed more energized, more excited, and more freed up. In short, the talker was engaged. You see, the talker is an employee and the listener is an executive in the company.

The listener—the executive—had learned long ago that the key to employee engagement was making sure each and every employee knew how valuable they were. He knew that the key to knowing you’re valued is simply the notion of “being heard.” Your voice matters, your opinion counts, your experience and ideas mean something, and your feelings are also important. How an employee feels at any given moment is the engine that drives their performance, good or bad.

Be a listener and watch your employees flourish.


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