Ever felt that sometimes when you share your genius ideas with your least favorite coworkers, they act like they have no interest? They act bored, and they act like they have heard it all before. They are so difficult to work with. And then they act like you should care what they think and listen to them go on and on and on. Are you wondering, “How do I listen to difficult people?”

Well, it isn’t easy, especially listening to difficult people. When someone has treated us poorly over time, it is hard to respond to their communication enthusiastically.

When someone hasn’t listened to us, it is hard to listen to them. It is a struggle to listen to someone that you wish would simply “shut up.”

However, when we are interacting with someone we work with who has an impact on our long-term career, or our short-term career, we need to make being a good listener a priority.

Rise to the occasion and tell yourself that this may be the most important five minutes of our day. Get into your most effective posture and focus your attention. Turn your body toward them to demonstrate interest. Ask questions when you’re not sure about what they mean. If taking notes helps, be prepared with pen and paper. If eye contact is uncomfortable, just look at their front teeth and watch their little tongue dart in and out of their mouths.

Really focus your attention and listen closely, as if you are listening to the most interesting ideas and the most valuable information you have ever heard in your life.

Listening is often rated as the most admired skill in communication. We don’t learn much when we are talking, however, we learn quite a bit from listening. Listen first and you will have more credibility when you respond. Good leaders are good listeners.

To learn more on dealing with difficult people watch Kit’s keynote presentation here. Check back to Welchlin.com every Monday for a new video blog.