be successful, all great leaders need to develop their listening skills!
You know what?? Everyone needs to develop his or her listening skills!
Its just plain courteous! Effective
listening skills should be required learning for anyone wanting to succeed in
business. It is relevant to all professions and all situations where someone
wants to be successful and connect with people in an authentic and comfortable
way. Listening skills are extremely
important for all relationships whether in business, in the schools, at home or
just even at a gathering of friends. For
now, however, our focus will be on the managers command of listening skills.
more, talking less, that should be a key phrase for every manager, parent,
spouse and friend. In business, become the manager that employees can open up
to, respect and admire. Communications
experts all agree; being a good listener is one of the critical skills a manager
needs to be successful in business. Listening aids the business leader in
developing rapport. Listening builds trust and conveys openness to hearing all
the concerns and new ideas. Whether sitting down with a business client, meeting
with an associate or receiving input from an employee, managers must listen not
only to what is being said, but how it is said or not said.
Think about the power of your knowledge of NLP at work while you listen.
Use these tools to understand the person being listened to.
Tone of voice, demeanor, or absence of a response, awareness of
sub-modalities can often give as much information as words and gestures can.
A good ear and eye goes a long way.
Those who listen effectively and intently are perceived to be great
communicators, even without saying a word. Good listeners are viewed to be
caring and wise as well. In return, because they listen well, when they do
speak, people give what they say much more attention.
good rule of thumb: listening first, then tailor your message to what you have
heard. As you listen, you can learn
about a person, you can understand his values, experiences, feelings, attitudes
and modalities. This information
will enable you to devise messages that are going to be more appealing.
listening is directed by two elements: What is being said & How
it is being said.
Focus on content:
What is being said?
What is their view of the topic being
What arguments are being used?
What do they looking to accomplish or
what goals need to be achieved?
What emotions are expressed, where do
they occur and where are they emphasized? Is it anger, fear, and delight?
Pay special attention to what is being said the moment that
emotion is detected.
What is behind these feelings?
There is nothing wrong with analyzing the situation.
how they are communicating:
How is it being said? Be aware of
body language; Foot-flapping (anxiety or discomfort reaction), nose touching
(not being completely honest or having anxiety about being exposed), leaning
away (desire for distance), crouched or slumped posture (may mean
defensiveness), crossed arms (defensiveness).
How are they using their facial
expressions? Carefully observe all
facial expressions. What is the speaker talking about when he smiles or frowns?
How intense and direct is eye
contact? Most importantly be aware of eyes, eye contact, eye movement and even
possible expressions of emotions. The
eyes are the windows to the soul and can give away big secrets.
for Effective Listening:
Take a lot of notes. Note taking makes a person feel
important. It also will give your
an opportunity to review the conversation later. Telling a person 'to expand
on that' makes communication stronger and encourages clarification. A
manager who sits back and just listens makes the speaker the single most
important person at the time. You're focusing on the individual. Taking notes as
you listen and underlining words is also useful when you want to incorporate
these words or ideas into your responses. Note
pads and pens at all meetings and on your office desk are handy tools to being
properly armed to actively listen.
Hold weekly meetings with all staff members with no
formal agenda, just to listen to what comes up and take the pulse of what is
happening with each team member. Listen at meetings to everyones agenda.
sessions stress listening to everyone's contributions before formulating any
reply. Good listening skills practiced at meetings and in your office helps
create an environment where people feel secure, loved and valued so that they
could be truly brilliant and not constantly looking over their shoulders or
covering their backs because the work environment gets to feel like a political
snake-pit. The best listening can only take place when there is an open
environment and mutual trust.
Let go of Ego issues.
The best listeners are those who really care about
anothers opinion and do not assume that they have all the answers themselves.
Everyday politeness says we let people finish their thoughts, all too
often we assume that we know what they are going to say and interrupt.
We just interrupt because we want to hear what we're going to say - the
ultimate ego trip!
Rephrase what is being said.
When a person is through talking, give him the
opportunity to say more and then rephrase what he's said to make sure it was
understood. This form of listening provides the speaker with feedback and the
opportunity to clarify his point. This
focused listening is crucial when working with clients and job candidates. To
place the right candidates in the right jobs, listens closely to needs,
requirements, desires and goals. For clients, focus on their expectations. Use phrases such as:
what you're thinking is this..."?
I understand that
what you are saying is
I wonder if you could give examples for clarification.
Ask the right questions.
You can't do that if we haven't really heard the candidate or the client.
To show you're really listening, you have to ask questions that generate more
dialogue. Asking the appropriate
questions is truly the best way for practice active listening.
But be careful not to over do with the questions.
Empathize. Hear the person, pause and repeat
back verbatim what the other person has said. As in rephrasing, capture the
essence of what is being said by summarizing.
Capture the feeling and meaning of what someone has said.
Express your true concern. If
you have no concern by all means just listen and dont try empathy. When
risking false emotions you will come across as a fool.
Avoid the danger of listening too
late. How often we hear that management
doesnt know that a problem exists until the exit interview. That one bites. All
too often issues come up with the human resource department about happenings
that frustrated and employee to the point of resigning. Avoid this situation by keeping the pulse on your staff by
listening. You will be able to led
the team more effectively if you know what's going on inside with their internal
Listen to the noise (the words) and the silences
(what is not said or often what is screamed in behavior and body language).
Teachers and parents often learn the hard way about those issues!
Dont assume that because someone is an adult that they have resolved
all their adolescent issues. And
dont just assume that a pause means someone is finished.
A good technique is to take a breath and to not just jump in when someone
pauses or appears to be finished,
Heres the hard one
this is where I usually bite my inner lip or
even clench a hand or pen. I find
myself always wanting to butt in with my too cents.
Or I just am getting bored. Do not let your attention wander and (unless
you are taking notes) certainly do not do anything else. There is nothing worse
that having a discussion with someone that is distracted and shuffling papers or
playing with something on the desk.
Positioning and posture has a lot to do with active
listening. Someone who's sitting
there with his hands clasped in front and looking directly at you and digesting
what you are saying, is essentially saying, 'Let me think about that for a
moment, I hear what you have said and then I'll respond. There is great
emotional pleasure in this for the one who's doing the talking. This
receptive approach is also an effective active listening device.
of a Poor Listener
being someone with no friends or a boss that no one likes there are other signs
of a poor listener. Some obvious
signs that someone is not listening are:
around the room or off into the distance
or distracting hand movements picking at nails etc.
on and on without pause
seeking information or ideas through proper questioning
(as when on the phone and you can hear some people actually typing away!)
people start cutting you off,
with a response that is slightly off
of eye contact (most obvious sign)
something goes "In one ear out the other and they return 10 minutes or
two days later asking for information about the conversation.