Innovate by Encouraging Effective Listening


Good listening skills take time to develop, but the investment pays off for teams in form of producing innovative ideas. Set listening skill development as a team goal. Encourage people to do the following during meetings:


° Take notes. Referring to notes helps you organize the message, and that will create greater objectivity when you evaluate it later. Consider how well ideas fit together and how well the evidence supports speakers’ points.


° Reserve judgment. Never interrupt a speaker, even when you feel the person is straying from the point. You may think you know where the speaker is going, but you could hear new information at the end of the person’s comments.


° Stop fearing silence. If you find yourself in the middle of a conversation you feel left out of, or if you feel unmotivated to join in, do not feign interest by offering thoughtless comments. Always contribute conversation with a clear purpose.


° Create the space to share new ideas. Start offering moments during meeting specifically for idea sharing. This will ultimately lead to innovations to solve challenges internally and externally.


Listen silently to see what you can learn.




Shakira M. Brown is an award-winning Professional Branding & Business Communication Speaker ( and former network television broadcast journalist. She is the CEO of SMB Strategic Media LLC (, a firm that helps businesses get to the heart of why the customers/clients buy their goods and service helping them clarify their message via strategic brand messaging. Shakira is also the lead marketing consultant for America’s Small Business Development Center at The College of New Jersey. She has won over 13 industry awards in various disciplines for her work. Shakira frequently shares her expertise at national conferences and corporate workshops as well as with the media such as American Express Open, Crain’s Chicago, PR Week, Brand Week, Smart Money and she is also a contributing writer for Black

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