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Wednesday, May 10, 2017

8 Ways to Improve Your Listening Skills

Given all this listening we do, you would think we'd be good at it! In fact most of us are not, and research suggests that we remember between 25 percent and 50 percent of what we hear. 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. This is dismal!

Listening is one of the most important skills you can have. How well you listen has a major impact on your job effectiveness, and on the quality of your relationships with others.

The way to improve your listening skills is to practice "active listening." This is where you make a conscious effort to hear not only the words that another person is saying but, more importantly, try to understand the complete message being sent.

How do you develop active listening skills?

Rule #1: Stop talking. If you really want to be an effective listener, stop what you are doing. Eliminate distractions. Give full attention. Show the person that you really want to listen.

Rule #2: Put the person at ease. Get relaxed yourself. Use door-openers like, “What’s up? Anything I can help you with?" Don’t rush, give them time…unhurried. Be alert to posture and nonverbal cues.

Rule #3: Don’t interrupt, especially if the person is upset. Allow for ventilation to occur. Remember, it’s only words. Be patient.

Rule #4: Empathize. Make a statement of regret. Be genuine. Ask them for their help. “I’d like to understand your problem; will you help me?”

Rule #5: Paraphase. Try to summarize what you’ve heard and restate it to the person to his/her satisfaction.  This often helps defuse tension. It also aids in showing employees that you’re trying to understand their situation.

Rule #6: Ask open-ended questions. Use questions for clarification and understanding, “What do you suggest we do?”

Rule#7: Use silence. Don’t be afraid of tension. If any tension exists, time perception get terribly distorted.

Rule #8: Allow reflection. In many case the best role we can play is that of a sounding board for our employees. This even allows for a little pressure release.

Clearly, listening is a skill that we can all benefit from improving. By becoming a better listener, you will improve your productivity, as well as your ability to influence, persuade and negotiate. What's more, you'll avoid conflict and misunderstandings. All of these are necessary for workplace success!

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1 comment:

  1. This is why God gave us two ears and one mouth, so that we would listen twice as much as we speak.