A Little Book Of Listening Skills by Mark Brady
Book Summary Review
"A Little Book Of Listening Skills For The Workplace: 52 Essential Practices For Profoundly Transforming Production, Profits and People" is by Mark Brady.
Listening is a very important but much under-appreciated skill.
Since communication is "passing understanding to another person", if you don't have well developed listening skills you are unlikely to be as effective a communicator as you could be.
If your listening skills are poor, you may misunderstand what the other person is asking and misjudge their understanding of your answer.
Listening is covered in much of the coaching literature but I haven't seen much about it in the mainstream business resources.
Yes you get told to research the market and listen to customers but few of the marketing books tell you how to look out for distortions in your perceptions of what you are hearing.
Most well written sales books cover the importance of asking the customers questions but few go into listening to the answers from the customer. Not listening was one of my 11 common sales & selling mistakes.
Books on team-building and personnel management recognise that it's important you know what your team think about the business and the issues within it but again there is a lack of debate and information about listening skills.
The one exception in the popular business books that I can think of is "Raving Fans" by Ken Blanchard & Sheldon Bowles. This is a book about customer service and naturally it talks about finding out what customers want. Although it is only a brief section, it does highlight the importance of"listening to the music as well as the lyrics."
It's not just the words that are used that matter. If you listen carefully, there will be much more that you can learn.
52 Essential Skills For Better Listening
52 is a lot and reading the summary, there is a lot about listening that Mark Brady covers in the book that I just take for granted.
I bet if you were to try brainstorming "listening skills" you wouldn't get anywhere close to 52.
Working through the list you have obvious ones like "stop talking." I'm sure that you've heard that before - we've been given two ears and one mouth and they should work in that proportion.
But you can also listen for potential sources of conflict, how people try to hijack conversations, how you can check for neglect...
Conclusion on "Listening Skills"
I would never have read the full book even though it is only 103 pages.
My problem is that while I accept that listening skills are essential and many people show that there is plenty of room for improvement, the BusinessSummaries report was boring but I don't know whether this is the fault of the author or the summariser.
I have the same problem with some of the coaching books I've read. Yes they are worthy but they are about as exciting to read as an accounting text book. Give me a good marketing or sales book any day because that will fire me up with ideas for action.
Perhaps the problem is that I have always been a natural listener.
Partly because I am naturally shy but also because it has always struck me as the obvious way to learn and learning is the route to knowledge and wisdom.
The best personal development material that I've come across on listening (which made it an interesting topic) came from Peter Thomson. His premium business development program - the Accelerated Business Growth System includes a module on Active Listening and he builds on the skills elsewhere in the program.
I can recommend Peter's audio program "The Best Kept Secrets Of Great Communicators." Click and you will see that Nightingale Conant give you the chance to listen to a few short clips so that you can decide whether you like Peter's style.
I rate "A Little Book Of Listening Skills for the Workplace" by Mark Brady as a 2 Star summary. I didn't learn much from this BusinessSummaries report.
Have You Read "Listening Skills" by Mark Brady?
The full book may be better so if you've read it, I'd appreciate a comment setting my readers straight.