Improve your listening skills by paying full attention to the person you’re with, restating their key points to ensure understanding, asking clarifying questions and making quick notes of important ideas, writes Brian Ahearn. “Remember, note taking isn’t to write a novel, it’s to capture key points and key words to jar your memory as you recall the conversation,” Ahearn writes.



Today’s guest post is written by Brian Ahearn. Brian’s one of the most knowledgeable guys I know on the subject of influencing people (which is why he’s been a guest here before). Brian’s blog, Influence PEOPLE, is followed by people in more than 180 countries. You can learn more about Brian at the end of this post. Enjoy!

My wife Jane is an excellent golfer, a poster child for hard work and practice. Many years ago she said, “I’m tired of people saying I have potential.

I want good scores!” She started taking lessons, practiced consistently at the driving range and saw her scores drop from 105-110 to the low 80s and occasionally a score in the high 70s! She exemplifies a truism in life – you don’t get good at something by merely learning about it. At some point you have to “do the stuff.”

Over the last few years I’ve conducted many sales workshops where people practice different skill sets. One such workshop was on active listening skills. Good listening skills are just as important for leaders as they are for salespeople.

Excellent leaders recognize the more information they have the better the solutions they can come up with. One important way leaders get their information is by actively listening. I’ll share five pointers to help you become listening “STARS.”

Listening is an active skill so you need to do several things if you want to excel. Listening skills are not things you can’t do. For example, I often tell workshop attendees I can’t dunk a basketball. Never could and it’s not likely at 48 years old, standing just 5’9 tall, that I ever will. Jumping high enough to dunk a basketball is a skill I don’t have and can’t acquire no matter how hard I work.