Listening is the underrated, overlooked stepchild to speaking, yet it’s paramount for excellent communication. Active listening is one of the most important things we can do to connect with others, whether it's our employees, bosses, children, partners, or friends. Becoming a better listener can change your relationships for the better, and these titles can teach you how to hone that skill.
Understanding the importance of listening is the first step towards becoming better at it. Kate Murphy dives into how we've become a society that talks at people, not to each other. "We're not listening, and no one is listening to us," she explains. This deep-dive into the art and science of why we listen is an entertaining and educational way to begin your journey to becoming a better listener.
In this short read, Miller offers practical tips and exercises, plus plenty of research, to help you become a better listener while empathizing with the speaker. Being able to connect with how another person is feeling is a vital part of effective listening. It helps prevent assumptions that lead to common misunderstandings, and can help you better converse with anyone from your company's CEO to your surly teenager.
If you have minimal time for reading but know effective listening is a priority, start here.The researchers at the Center for Creative Leadership understand that active listening is critical to leading a company. In this short, 20-minute read, you'll get tangible tips you can immediately implement into your daily life. There are even sections in this updated edition on virtual listening and working remotely.
This quick audiobook from the Harvard Business Review is a great introduction to what empathy is (and isn't) and how it can change the way you listen to others. This audiobook also touches on when empathy becomes more of a burden than a gift, and how to tame your empathetic nature if it becomes too much to handle.
This bestselling book is an important read for every parent. Often, those closest to us are the ones who are the worst at listening to us, and we're the worst at listening to them. Faber offers tangible tips to improve your relationship with your children by actively listening, taking time to process the information, and appropriately responding in a way that encourages your child to listen back.
This is a great read if you’re primarily interested in developing your listening skills to become a better business leader. While it doesn’t go into great depth about the art of listening to your customers and colleagues, it does make the argument that a business owner can't succeed without effective listening skills. Miller suggests you can't effectively run a company without mutual communication with your employees. Without listening to consumers, for example, your products or services are not likely to make a dent in the market. Miller offers tactical tips for clarifying your brand message, but also explains why you need to listen first before expecting others to listen in return.
As author King explains, the art of deep listening is a superpower. Picture this: You're at a holiday party, and instead of telling people what you do or what you're interested in, you ask them questions instead. Even more revolutionary, you really listen to their answers and ask thoughtful follow-ups, rather than trying to find places in the conversation where you can share information about yourself. The person you're talking to — and more importantly, listening to — will feel a much closer connection to you than if you monologue at them all night.
As a young man, Andrew Forsthoefel set off on a walking tour of the U.S. with the goal of interviewing as many people as he could along the way. In this memoir, he catalogues his experiences. While it doesn't contain prompts for active listening or scientific studies about the art of listening, it serves as a poignant reminder that there are so many amazing stories in the world, if only we took the time to listen. Forsthoefel details his learnings about how most people simply want to be heard. Word of caution: After reading this book, you may find yourself eager to strike up a conversation with a stranger.
This pick isn't about listening to your boss, employees, or kids. Rather, it's about listening to yourself — something many of us forget to do. Maybe you don’t realize you’re trying to quell those inner voices that are prompting you to make changes in your life. In this book, author Janet Conner shares journaling exercises to help you learn how to listen to what your body and brain are trying to tell you.