by Lindsay Taylor

A-Z Pearls of Wisdom L is for...
 Listening with your whole body
Listening is the key to creating and maintaining rapport and the great working relationship that we all want with our manager and team. 

Listening is a skill and for many of us, it is a skill we can improve on. 
The crème de la crème of listening involves listening with your whole body and then mirroring or matching the person we are listening to in order to create and maintain rapport, based on the popular saying that “people like people who are like themselves”.  
Once we have great rapport with someone we are then more easily able to influence or persuade them – with integrity of course – so that we can achieve our goals and outcomes.  The “intregity” element here is of utmost importance when influencing – we need to ensure the person we are influencing is being taken to a good place as well as ourselves in achieving our goals and outcomes.  
Let’s use Mehrabian’s research introduced in A-Z Pearl of Wisdom “A is for Assertiveness” as a basis for putting this “whole body listening” into practice.  
“Based on the research of Harvard Professor Albert Mehrabian, communication can be broken down into three areas – 1) the words that we speak 2) the tone that we use and 3) the body language that we use.  The words that we speak account for 7% importance in getting our message across, the tone for 38% and the body language for 55%”.
Listen with your ears to the Words: We all have a preference for phrases, terminology and favourite sayings.  Our own personal interpretation of vocabulary may be very different to someone else’s.  
Notice what specific words and phrases the person you are listening to has used.  Pick out particular phrases and words to repeat back when talking to them.  Based on the popular saying “people like people who are like themselves”, by using the same “language” and words as the person you are listening to this demonstrates your respect for what they are saying.   You are keeping the conversation “clean” by using their language without “dirtying” the conversation with your own preferences.  This accounts for a lot in creating and maintaining great rapport. 
Listen with your ears to the Tone: Listen to how someone is using their voice.  What tone of voice are they using?  What emphasis are they placing on words with the intonation of their voice?  How fast or slow are they speaking?  What volume are they using?  What does this tell you?  
Listen with your eyes to the Body Language
Based on Mehrabian’s research we know that 55% of communication comes down to body language – so how we deliver our message.  As a listener then we can assess a lot from noticing what is happening in a person’s body language including their physiology (facial expressions), gestures, movement.  What can you see happening?  We can listen with our eyes and use this information to be curious about what is going on for that person.   

Here are other Pearls of Wisdom: A   B   C   D   E   F   G   H   I   J   K   L   M   N   O   P   Q   R   S  

About the Author:  

Lindsay Taylor grew up in Hong Kong and has worked as an Executive Assistant in both the UK and the US. She now runs Your Excellency Limited, delivering training and coaching to administrative professionals around the world. 

Lindsay is renowned for developing and delivering the workshop “Be a PA with PA – Perfect Awareness”, an inspirational day of learning for PAs serious about creating and maintaining a professional identity and working with effectiveness and efficiency.

Lindsay is a member of the Association for Coaching and supports continuing professional development.  


Over the years, Lindsay has collated a wealth of input from the professionals she has worked with, and the information she now holds forms the basis for The A-Z Pearls of Wisdom.

Lindsay adores the experience of working in different cultures and meeting new people.  She thrives on being busy – approaching everything she does with energy, drive and a real zest for life.

To contact Lindsay, please click here.