In this age of Video interviews, Zoom team meetings, and online collaboration, one key aspect of clear communication is listening.
Having a good conversation requires mastering the art of speaking and listening. As adults, we have plenty of chances to perfect our speaking skills. We can enroll in Toastmasters groups, debate classes, drama classes, and speech lessons.
What about perfecting our listening skills? When do we practice this skill that is as important as talking when we are having a conversation? Are we listening to understand, or listening to fix? Are we listening to connect, or listening to correct?
Oscar Trimboli, in his award-winning podcast, Deep Listening, says only 2% of leaders have ever received any training on how to listen, even though they spend 64% to 83% of their day listening!
So let’s start practicing some techniques to become better listeners. Listed below are three things we can start doing right away:
Listening with our entire body—not just our ears.
Keeping our minds quiet and focused.
Making eye contact and giving the speaker our complete attention.
When asking a question, we can sit back and allow the speaker to collect their thoughts. Let’s get comfortable with being uncomfortable in silence. And if you are the one answering, when you’re finished, let there be silence. You don’t need to jump in with more if your answer was complete and well-prepared.
In an interview, this allows a candidate to fill that silence and give a hiring manager more insight into their personality, skills, and accomplishments.
The time to gather our thoughts and answer a question is after it’s posed if you were listening properly—not while the question was being asked. We often start planning our reply, even before the question has completely finished. When this happens, we have in fact stopped listening and moved into the reply, problem-solving, or rebuttal mode.
Too often, we make assumptions about the question, mishear the question or interpret the person’s reasoning and intentions for asking a question.
Repeat & Rephrase
Before responding, make sure we understand what has been said.
We can do this by repeating the speaker’s key points and restating them in our own words. This will give the person an opportunity to clarify or add more information. This way, we can be certain we understand the other person’s point.
Before offering a rebuttal, ask a thoughtful, open-ended question to clear up any lingering misconceptions. This can open a productive conversation and lead to an impactful conversation.
To get a better idea of your own listening type, take Trimboli’s quiz to discover your listening type.
What is your listener type?
We hope you’ve enjoyed our 596th a.blog.