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The Listening Angle

alliance - ListenThe most basic and powerful way to connect to another person is to listen. Just Listen. Perhaps the most important thing we ever give each other is our attention.” Rachel Naomi Remen

Recently we posted a blog on Communication One-to-One. Today we’ll take it a step further and discuss the Listening Angle. Listening is one of the basic pillars of effective communication. It allows you not only to receive information but also to interpret it accurately. It is not a passive activity – true listening requires engagement. Are you a good listener? Here are some tips to help you grow your listening skills.

Focus on the speaker. Give them your full attention. Remove distractions – especially electronic devices, and listen. Help the speaker to feel at ease in sharing.

Don’t be thinking about your response – just listen. When you are immediately thinking about how you will respond, you miss part of what the person is saying, and it may be the most critical part of their comments.

Don’t make a judgment – just listen. Casting your opinion – even in your mind, before you’ve heard all the evidence only leads to foot-in-mouth disease.

Don’t be guided by prejudice. We all have a bias in some of the situations we face some of the time. It’s important to intentionally set aside our bias and just listen – empathize with the speaker – listen from their “point of view.”

Ask questions that clarify what you heard. The truth is that we often “receive” a different message than the speaker intended. By clarifying – “Are you saying that . . .” a lot of communication issues can be solved before they have time to begin.

Ask questions that convey interest. Don’t simple acknowledge or “talk back” to the speaker. Let your questions express an interest in what they told you – use open-ended questions that draw out more thoughts.

Pay attention to mood indicators –  choice of words, voice tone, facial expressions, body language, and general atmosphere. Each of these will help you read between the lines and pick up what’s not being said. They indicate the level of importance, the speakers, emotions, and help choose the right response.

Be patient. Sometimes you have to listen to the “ideas” being shared not just the words. Sometimes you have wait while they struggle to convey what they mean. Ensure that your facial expression and body language indicates total focus.

Don’t set a meeting for something that can be answered in a question or two. This wastes their time – and yours. It starts off the conversation in the negative.

On the flip side, don’t drop a time bomb in passing – if you need a meeting, schedule a meeting. Indicate the topic and what you hope to accomplish.  Instead of putting them on the spot, a meeting allows them time to consider their position and prepare.

Listening. That’s one of our specialties here at AllianceStaff. We listen to our clients and our candidates/associates. That’s why we can make great-fit matches for both. Discover how we provide first-class search and staffing services in the Greater Milwaukee area through personal service, open communication, and dedication to excellence. Contact us today.


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