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Saturday, July 20, 2019

Active Listening: Hear What People Are Really Saying (From MindTools)


How well you listen has a major impact on the quality of your relationships with others. 

[…] Given all the listening that we do, you would think we'd be good at it! In fact, most of us are not, and research suggests that we only remember between 25 percent and 50 percent of what we hear, as described by Edgar Dale's Cone of Experience. That means that when you talk to your boss, colleagues, customers, or spouse for 10 minutes, they pay attention to less than half of the conversation.

Turn it around and it reveals that when you are receiving directions or being presented with information, you aren't hearing the whole message either. You hope the important parts are captured in your 25-50 percent, but what if they're not?

Clearly, listening is a skill that we can all benefit from improving. By becoming a better listener, you can improve your productivity, as well as your ability to influence, persuade and negotiate. What's more, you'll avoid conflict and misunderstandings.

💡Tip: Good communication skills require a high level of self-awareness. Understanding your own personal style of communicating will go a long way toward helping you to create good and lasting impressions with others.

Becoming an Active Listener

It takes a lot of concentration and determination to be an active listener. Old habits are hard to break, and if your listening skills are as bad as many people's are, then you'll need to do a lot of work to break these bad habits.

There are (some) key techniques you can use to become a more effective listener:

1. Pay attention
  • Give the speaker your undivided attention and acknowledge the message. Recognize that non-verbal communication also "speaks" loudly.
  • Look at the speaker directly.
  • Put aside distracting thoughts.
  • Don't mentally prepare a rebuttal […]
2. Show That You're Listening
  • Use your own body language and gestures to show that you are engaged. […]
  • Make sure that your posture is open and interested
  • Encourage the speaker to continue with small verbal comments like yes, and "uh huh."
3. Provide Feedback
  • Our personal filters, assumptions, judgments, and beliefs can distort what we hear. As a listener, your role is to understand what is being said. This may require you to reflect on what is being said and to ask questions.
  • Reflect on what has been said by paraphrasing. "What I'm hearing is... ," and "Sounds like you are saying... ," are great ways to reflect back.
  • Ask questions to clarify certain points. "What do you mean when you say... ." "Is this what you mean?"
  • Summarize the speaker's comments periodically.
💡Tip: If you find yourself responding emotionally to what someone said, say so. And ask for more information: "I may not be understanding you correctly, and I find myself taking what you said personally. What I thought you just said is XXX. Is that what you meant?"

4. Defer Judgment
  • Interrupting is a waste of time It frustrates the speaker and limits full understanding of the message.
  • Allow the speaker to finish each point before asking questions.
  • Don't interrupt with counter arguments.
5. Respond Appropriately
  • Active listening is designed to encourage respect and understanding. You are gaining information and perspective. You add nothing by attacking the speaker or otherwise putting her down. […]
  • Assert your opinions respectfully.
  • Treat the other person in a way that you think she would want to be treated.
Start using active listening techniques today to become a better communicator, improve your workplace productivity, and develop better relationships.




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