Listening Generously

More than any single EQ related skill, Listening Generously is foundational to being effective with others.

You already know how to listen. Right? You do it all the time. But how good are you at listening? What would your partner, child or best friend say? Listening Generously takes listening to its highest level. There are three key factors at the heart of generous listening: intention, attention and effort. Listening generously is setting aside anything else you would rather be doing or thinking about. It’s being intentional about listening, paying close attention without distraction. The challenge is to remain present, curious and focused while someone else is talking. And it does take effort, especially initially, if listening doesn’t come naturally to you.

If any of these behaviors are true of you or associates with whom you work, you’ll find action tips at

  • Concentrates on own agenda, tasks and thoughts at the expense of paying attention to anyone else
  • Interrupts others when they are speaking
  • Offers responses that are more about his or her own view, experience or situation than about speaker’s
  • Misses the point or important details when others speak
  • Disinterested in the emotions behind the words when listening to others

Action learning tips and learning assignments on the job are a click away at

You might also consider (a sampling of suggestions from ):

Covey, Stephen. The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. New York: Free Press, 2004.

Donoghue, Paul J., and Mary E. Siegel. Are You Really Listening? Keys to Successful Communication. Notre Dame, IN: Sorin Books, 2005.

Hoppe, Michael. Active Listening: Improve Your Ability to Listen and Lead, Greensboro, NC: Center for Creative Leadership, 2007.

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