If you agree with somebody, don’t nod yes. If you disagree with somebody, don’t nod no.
You will be told your whole life that you need to learn to listen. I would say that you need to learn to be the last to speak. I see it in boardrooms every day of the week. Even people who consider themselves good leaders who may actually be decent leaders, will walk into a room and say ‘Here’s the problem, here’s what I think but I’m interested in your opinion. Let’s go around the room.’ It’s too late.
The skill to hold your opinions to yourself until everyone has spoken does two things: One, it gives everybody else the feeling that they have been heard. It gives everyone else the ability to feel that they have contributed. And two, you get the benefit of hearing what everybody else has to think before you render your opinion.
The skill is really to keep your opinions to yourself. Simply sit there, take it all in and the only thing you’re allowed to do is ask questions, so that you can understand what they mean and why they have the opinion that they have. You must understand from where they are speaking, why they have the opinion they have, not just what they are saying.
At the end, you will get your turn. It sounds easy, it’s not. Practice being the last to speak.