Executing effective listening

Executing effective listening

Executing Effective listening, Revathi Turaga, Multiple Demands, Good Communication Skills. Simply put, listening is known as the foundation for all...

Simply put, listening is known as the foundation for all communication skills. In organizations, while many do want to listen to each other, it is very easy to slip into giving advice in the heat of the moment, correcting and/or giving directives.
With the multiple demands employees have on themselves, managing day-to-day, good communication skills, including effective listening, can often be pushed to the back burner. So, let us today, take a glimpse at how to listen effectively.
However, research has shown, time and again, that the skill of listening needs to be learnt and mastered by each individual for them to be able to hone all of the other communication and interpersonal skills that help them succeed professionally and even personally.
Modelling effective listening skills is also vital to helping employees learn how to listen more effectively in their work and also personally with families and friends. When it comes to learning how to effectively communicate with clients, the most powerful tool one has is that of listening.
Here below are a few tools that one can practice for executing effective listening:
Listen carefully
  • Make a conscious effort to allow time to listen
  • Focus your complete attention to the task of listening.
  • Minimize distractions, both internally and externally.
  • Work to maintain body language that encourages communication: lean in toward the staff person, keep arms uncrossed, nod
  • Maintain eye contact as culturally appropriate
  • Refrain from thinking of a response
Pay attention to non-verbal behaviors
  • Look for eye contact from the staff person as is culturally appropriate
  • Make note of the staff person’s posture: sitting up straight, slouching, arms crossed or uncrossed
  • Make note of the staff person’s facial expression – What does the look on the staff person’s face tell you about his/her feelings?
  • Make note of the staff person’s breathing – What does the staff person’s breathing tell you about his/her feelings?
Paraphrase and summarise what you hear
  • Focus on the staff person’s message - avoid forming responses prematurely
  • Check to see if you understood what is being said by restating the essence of what was shared
  • Ask questions to check out whether or not your perceptions are correct
Draw out additional information
  • Ask questions that require additional details and understanding
  • Check to make sure you have accurately heard what is said - ask clarifying questions
  • Focus on the staff person’s perceptions rather than the “facts”
Work with feelings
  • Ask the staff person to talk about his/her feelings rather than simply the facts
  • Identify the feelings that you hear
  • Ask if you are labelling these feelings correctly
  • Learn to be comfortable with lapses in the conversations or periods of silence
Often, executing effective listening is summed up as the short poem given here (source unknown). It however, gives the essence of effective listening means...
When I ask you to listen to me, and you start to give me advice,
you have not done what I asked.
When I ask you to listen to me and you begin to tell me why I shouldn’t feel that way,
you are trampling my feelings.
When I ask you to listen to me,
and you feel you have to do something to solve my problems,
you have failed me, strange as that may seem.
LISTEN: All that I ask is that you listen,
not talk or do - just hear me.
When you do something for me that I can do for myself,
you contribute to my feelings of inadequacy.
But when you accept as a simple fact that I do feel what I feel,
no matter how irrational,
then I can quit trying to convince you
and go about the business of understanding what’s behind my feelings.
So, Please listen and just hear me and if you want to talk,
wait a minute for your turn – and then I will listen to you!
Effective listening is an essential component to relationship building between employees, supervisors, managers and customers. This seems often like a simple concept, but it is hard to do consistently. Being able to listen to what the staff person has to say and how he/she says it, as well as recognizing the emotion behind what is being said is the key to effective communication.
Execute effective listening...
You have the power!
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