Do We Need to Review Listening Skill?

It turns out the answer is yes, as it is for a variety of such basics. Stuck in California traffic on the way to a conference on leadership skills last week, I found a “Clear Writing” expert on the radio reminding us how many such skills need review. Blogs are great for short ‘how to’ segments on these basics.

Readers, it turns out, prefer frequent, short, clearly written tips. But many small business bloggers especially are stuck for how to keep up with the commitment to do a post every few days, which is what the experts recommend if you’re going to do a blog for serious marketing.

One solution is to engage a service to help. You can still write key pieces related to your business, but to fill in the ‘tip sheets’ readers come back for, a writer like Toronto’s Vera Held is an option. Vera is a professional writer who also writes a monthly column in The Toronto Sun called "Make it Work".  She just let me know she’s begun a new writing service for her clients. This service consists of (a) a weekly blog and (b) a bi-weekly media release for prices ranging from $149 per month for a 12-month contract. Topics are developed to highlight client priorities.  If you’d like further information, she can be reached at (416) 785-3556 or  Please have a peek at the following ‘how to’ blog Vera has just written on why leaders really have to listen—to lead effectively. You may find you appreciate the reminders, just as I did the reminders on clear writing, another of Vera’s advice specialties:     

Why Leaders Need to Listen, Actively

by Vera N. Held

Listening actively maximizes your value to your organization. It’s a key business skill that everyone needs to hone—especially the VP, GM and the CEO.

Contrary to popular belief, listeners are “active” participants. Educator John Dewey said, “The hearer is an indispensable partner” in any conversation. Why? You can only share a mind set, concept and idea, persuade someone or be persuaded when “true” listening occurs. Without the desire to listen to another perspective or point-of-view, little gets accomplished.

Indeed, good communicators listen more than they talk. And it is vital to treat all staff with the respect and appreciation that comes from being paid attention to and listened to. Listening actively is the one sure-fire way to keep staff motivated, and to continually build positive work relationships.

In return, staff will not only carefully listen to you, but generously answer your questions. In fact, staff may even provide you with some terrific unsolicited ideas to allow your business to grow by leaps and bounds.


1. Listen to gather data and gain knowledge. Learn.

2. Ask for clarification to make sure both sides are on the same page. Bond.

3. Always let the other person finish his or her thought. Build a bridge.

4. Show respect and interest—even if you disagree. Be polite.

5. Listen with an appropriate amount of empathy. Be open, confident and share.

Leaders are expert at connecting the 18-inches between head and heart. In the words of French writer and philosopher, Voltaire, “The road to the heart is the ear.”