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Dave Hill - The Re-Engineered Engineer: Keynote Speaker, Trainer, Author, & Speech Coach.

Dave Hill – The Re-Engineered Engineer: Keynote Speaker, Trainer, Author, & Speech Coach.

What are the effects of bad listening skills in the workplace?

  • People do not feel that their opinion is valued
  • It is difficult to have a win-win negotiation
  • Employees aim for win-destroy
  • Emotions can come to the table, rather than beneficial discussions
  • Employees can become apathetic
  • Customers can feel alienated and go elsewhere
  • Research shows that generally people only listen and mentally process 25% of what is being said

11 Ways to Maximize Listening Skills:

  1. Make listening skills one of your core competencies. It is a vital skill for you to become an effective communicator.  Understand that listening skills are difficult to learn and maintain, and need to be re-visited with refresher training.
  2. Keep an eye out for employees who need additional coaching on listening skills.  Do not allow them to fail due to a lack of communication skills.
  3. Face to face meetings are typically the most beneficial.  This allows you to be attentive, sit upright in your chair, lean in, make eye contact, smile, and use other visual techniques to convey to the other person that you are actively listening. Give a clear indication that you are listening using techniques such as nodding your head, rubbing your chin, making “uh, huh” sounds, repeating back some summary information, asking questions, and making comments.
  4. Keep contradictions out of your mind, as they significantly impede your level of listening.
  5. Do not bring your emotions to the table, as it can deflect your thoughts and ability to listen and fully comprehend what they are saying.
  6. Be respectful and build relationships that will set you up for success in future discussions and negotiations.
  7. Put yourself in the other person’s shoes.  Understand where they are coming from and what challenges they are dealing with.
  8. Minimize distractions- if there is distracting noise, move to a quieter place.  If people are having side conversations, politely ask them to focus on the discussions at hand.  Avoid the conversation going off on a distraction tangent.
  9. Do not allow your focus to wander.  Keep your thoughts tightly concentrated on the other person’s words, intonation, and the full picture of what they are trying to convey.  Look out for signs of stress or anger.  Arguments can develop from misunderstandings and emotional triggers.
  10. Taking notes can help demonstrate that you are actively listening.  Notes will also help you focus, summarize any key points, and help you recall any questions you may have.
  11. Listening is a skill that requires ongoing reinforcement. Here are some options you or your group have for periodic refresher training:
    • Audio CD for your car
    • Read articles
    • Videos
    • Discussion