If you're an up and coming corporate executive, it's likely you've received coaching with respect to your presentation skills. Yet you'll spend far more hours throughout your career listening to others rather than presenting yourself. When was the last time you received coaching on how to be a good listener? Yet, learning how to be a great audience member is a highly valuable skill key to professional success.
Every year, over 20 corporate leaders step into the classroom as part of CEO Insights course offered by McGill's Desautels Faculty of Management. Each of these individuals are excellent and experienced communicators. They spend significant amounts of time articulating their firm's vision to both their own employees and to Wall Street/Bay Street analysts.
...My colleague Henry Mintzberg, someone with over 40 years of teaching experience, once shared a piece of wisdom with me. When a student is not paying attention, it is almost never about you. Rather, it is usually about something in their own life. I have tested out Henry's theory many times since and have concluded he is correct. Students' minds are usually elsewhere for many reasons: a sick family member, a big interview coming up, a romantic breakup, etc. As professor, I have learned to not to take a yawn, an extended downward stare or even signs of general disinterest personally.
Read full article: Forbes, April 10, 2012