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Our society is filled with loud voices, with strident opinions and polarized viewpoints. How should we act/respond? My premise is we shouldn't be loud, but we should use LOUD skills to be more effective in communicating and achieving important outcomes/results.





Many people spend time and energy trying to convince everyone they have the best idea and that they are right. According to Winston Churchill, "Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen." I've found that you will have more long-term success not by being loud, but by using LOUD skills - Listen, Observe, Understand, and Deliver.

Listening is often an underrated and underutilized skill. The old cliche is that we have two ears and one mouth, so we should listen twice as much as we speak. If we listen actively and intentionally, we learn about the core issues and core concerns of the individual or team we are working with. That is a good first step. If we focus on making sure our voice is heard, we miss out on hearing other points of view. "Hearing is listening to what is said. Listening is hearing what isn't said." -- Simon Sinek

Observing is a deeper level of communication than just listening. Observing takes patience and focus. We are not only hearing words but seeing and reading body language. We are watching group dynamics. We are observing emotions. We are adding context to the words being spoken. We are taking time to consider what was said, but also why it was said. You perceive intent at a deeper level, and you tend to register what is most significant within a broader context. "People learn more from observation than they do from conversation." -- Will Rogers

Understanding brings together listening and observing to synthesize a conversation down to the most critical issues and objectives. When you are being loud, you don't usually take time to listen, observe, and understand. You are too busy convincing. Stephen Covey said it this way: "Seek first to understand, then to be understood."

You may conclude I am suggesting you should be quiet and passive. But that is before we get to the most important LOUD skill.

Delivering is the ultimate goal. Everything else is just words. Whether you are just loud or whether you use LOUD skills, every conversation is most likely focused on getting something done or something agreed upon. That is why using LOUD skills is so worth it. In my 40+ years of experience, LOUD skills achieve better outcomes and longer lasting results. Getting your way is nice in the short term, but building trust and strong relationships achieves better and more lasting long-term outcomes. And LOUD skills lay a foundation for even more future wins.

"A loud voice cannot compete with a clear voice; even if it's a whisper." -- Barry Neal Kaufman

#dontbeloud! Use LOUD skills.

Are you listening, observing, understanding, and delivering?

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