What does communication have to do with productivity and results? Everything, because results depend on our ability to clearly send and receive ideas, information and action.

The key? Listening.

The fastest way to get to the bottom of a work challenge or to dramatically move a project along is to hear people out. Sometimes they need to talk to a listening ear to begin to come up with their own solutions or to generate ideas from others.

A director in one of Silicon Valley's high-tech companies, Kenn Mackenzie, says, "In today's work environment, where we are fast driven by increasing productivity demands, reduced time to market, reducing costs, and working across different global time zones, there is an even greater need to slow down and listen more." Listening builds trust and relationships.

When you let others talk and you take the time to listen, you begin to understand the other person's problems, needs, and opportunities. So, when you meet with potential clients, take the time to hear them out and listen to their needs--you'll be more likely to close the deal. Even when you want to get a word in edge wise, learn to like listening and enjoying a two-way conversation.

Check for Clarity

Yes, we all want to be heard and understood. But to strengthen the chain of communication, it is important to become a good listener first. Really listening and checking for clarity on what l understood from the conversation gives you a solid platform from which to more effectively get things done.

Show Interest with Questions

Start with interest and curiosity when talking or emailing. Especially with introverted people, ask questions to draw them out. Use simple, open-ended questions as opposed to questions with yes or no answers. Then stop talking to hear their response. Questions beginning with "what" keep the conversation more productive, such as, "What ideas do you have for getting the project on track?"

What productivity results are possible from your ability to attentively listen? Try listening more to your clients, your boss, your vendors every day for one week--see what results you generate from this simple, generous act that strengthens both trust and communication. A great combination for accelerating results.

Author's Bio: 

To receive a free chapter of 'The [N]aked Desk' and more on-the-job success tips, I invite you to visit actionsymphony.com

From Sue Brenner – Performance Coach and Author of 'The [N]aked Desk'