Listening and Career Success

The ability to create positive personal impact is an important life and the career success key.  I devote an entire section of my latest book Climbing the Corporate Ladder to it.  You need to do three things to create positive personal impact: 1) Create and nurture your unique personal brand; 2) be impeccable in your presentation of self – in person and on line; and 3) know and follow the basic rules of business etiquette.

I subscribe to Ann Marie Sabath’s newsletter in which she provides an etiquette tip every month.    Ann Marie is the founder and CEO of At Ease Inc., a business protocol and etiquette company.  She’s been in business since 1987  — one year before I started my speaking, writing and career coaching business.  Check her out at  This month’s tip was about conversation skills – another key career success competency.  Check it out…

“When you are in conversation with others, do you learn more about them or do you more about yourself?

“Some people go in to monologue mode without realizing it when talking to others.  What they not realize, however, is that people would see them as much more interesting if they were only more interested in others.

“Savvy conversationalists ask more about others than they share about themselves.  They wait for those around them to ask for their opinions rather than volunteering information.  These master conversationalists know that less is more when talking.  They position what they have to say by posing a question about the topic they would like to discuss to ensure equal exchange.”

I devote several tweets in my career success book, Success Tweets to conversation skills.  Tweet 107 echoes Ann Marie’s advice on conversations.  “Become an excellent conversationalist by listening more than speaking.  Pay attention to what other people say; respond appropriately.”  Tweet 109 says, “Use the 2/3 – 1/3 rule.  Listen two things of the time; speak one third of the time.  Focus your complete attention on the other person.”

In other posts I’ve pointed out that asking good questions is an important way to become known as a great conversationalist.  But to take full advantage of the questions you ask, you need to really listen to the answers and respond appropriately.

Here are my top seven tips for becoming a good listener – and conversationalist.

  1. Look the other person in the eye when he or she is speaking.  This demonstrates that you are engaged with him or her.
  2. Listen to understand what the other person is saying – not to plan your rebuttal.
  3. Listen really hard when the other person begins by saying something with which you don’t agree.
  4. Know the words that trigger your emotions.  Don’t get distracted by them.
  5. Be patient.  Some people take longer than others to make their point.  Don’t interrupt.
  6. Ask clarification questions when you don’t understand.
  7. Repeat what you have heard the other person say – to make sure you got it right, and to show him or her that you were listening.

If you use these seven tips in conversation, you will become known as a great conversationalist and a dynamic communicator.

The common sense career success coach point here is simple.  Successful people are good conversationalists.  To become a good conversationalist, follow the career advice in Tweets 107 and 109 in Success Tweets.  “Become an excellent conversationalist by listening more than speaking.  Pay attention to what other people say; respond appropriately.”  (Tweet 107) “Use the 2/3 – 1/3 rule.  Listen two things of the time; speak one third of the time.  Focus your complete attention on the other person.”  (Tweet 109)  Learn to listen well.  Listening, like a lot of career success advice, is just common sense.  Show the other person you are engaged.  Focus on understanding, not on rebutting points with which you don’t agree.  Don’t get distracted by words that trigger your emotions.  Ask clarification questions to ensure you understand what is being said.  Repeat what you’ve heard.  Most of all, get in the habit of listening more than speaking.

That’s my career advice on conversation skills.  What do you think?  Please take a minute to share your thoughts with us in a comment.  As always, thanks for reading my daily musings on life and career success.  I value you and I appreciate you.


PS: If you haven’t already done so, I suggest that you check out my career advice book Success Tweets and its companion piece Success Tweets Explained.  The first gives you 140 bits of career success advice tweet style — in 140 characters or less.  The second is a whopping 390 + pages of career advice explaining each of the common sense tweets in Success Tweets in detail.  Go to to claim your free copy.  You’ll also start receiving my daily life and career success quotes.

PPS: Have you seen my membership site, My Corporate Climb?  It’s devoted to helping people just like you create career success inside large corporations.  You can find out about it by going to http://www.mycorporateclimb.


Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Speak Your Mind


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.