18 Jul Listen! …Did You Hear That? Six Tips To Become An Active Listener
Article by Rob Mosley of Next Level Mastery
Part 3 of 3 Listen Series: To listen actively is to first of all listen without deciding or judging about what you hear. Active listening is the process of temporarily setting your world aside and concentrating on the other person’s message and meaning. Evaluations, decisions and reactions can come later.
By now, you have hopefully read part one and part two of this series. If not click here for more of this series. The following are some essential listening guidelines.
• Listen without deciding.
Be like a polltaker asking questions impartially simply to get the information. Neither agree nor disagree. Show understanding by nodding or saying, “I see” or “I get it.” A response of, “I know just how you feel” may seem empathetic but may also elicit an angry, “How could you possible know how I feel?”
• Use a neutral tone of voice.
Not monotone or robotic, but casual, light, free from heavy emotional baggage. The same tone of voice you would use to ask, “Is it raining?” You are not judging the rain; you just want to know whether an umbrella is called for.
• Avoid listening autobiographically.
“Something just like that happened to me” ends the listening and sends the message that you want to tell your story instead.
• Reframe to show understanding and to clarify.
“So what you’re saying is . . .” “I think I just heard you say . . .is that right?” See the Active Listening Reference Card for detailed summaries of various techniques that you can use.
• Go through the doors that they open.
The listener actually guides the conversation by choosing the next subject to ask about. For example, let’s say you are listening to a co-worker who has the following complaint: “Rob is always late with completing reference checks on candidates that I need at the end of our client interview process. He says it is because people in the office are constantly interrupting him.”
− Door 2: The client interview process. Why is it that Rob has to wait until the end of the interview process to take a first round of reference checks?
− Door 3: Reference checks delegation. Is there someone in addition to Rob that might be able to assist in getting the reference checks completed in a timely fashion?
− Door 4: The interruptions. It sounds as though Rob’s work area is very busy. What could be done to reduce his interruptions? There is also the universal door of the emotions the speaker is experiencing. “You sound really upset. What do you think could be done so you won’t feel that way anymore?”
• Get closure.
Stay until the end of the conversation. If you begin to listen and then don’t let the speaker finish everything they want to say, you frustrate them and lose their trust.
If you’re like many people and have not completed significant training in active listening, then what you are doing much of the time is ‘hearing,’ not listening. Active listening is a very specific set of techniques that do not just happen automatically. You must learn, train and practice the techniques to achieve competency in active listening.
You will find that improved listening skills not only change your business relationships but your personal ones as well.
Written By: Rob Mosley | Next Level Exchange, Senior Director of Training & Development
Recap of Part 1 of 3: Great Dialogue in our business is the cornerstone of our craft. And great dialogue has four distinct elements; Probing, Listening, Responding, and Alignment. These four elements are like the chambers of the heart; each section or chamber is a unique and critical part of the communication process with both clients and candidates. In this three part series we will focus on one of these critical skills; listening.
To read part one in it’s entirety go to: http://www.nextlevelexchange.com/blog/listen-hear/
Recap of Part 2 of 3: How often do you let the other person completely finish a thought? If you respond in mid-paragraph, you’ve lost valuable information the other side was sharing with you.
To read part two in it’s entirety go to: http://www.nextlevelexchange.com/blog/listen-hear-will-never-know-didnt-hear/