Listening refers to an individuals ability to understand, organize and analyze what is heard in order to make appropriate decisions about what to think and do in response to the message. The following 12 questions examine your ability to overcome barriers to effective listening; summarize and reorganize a message for recall; identify and test inferences and assumptions; and withhold any judgment that can bias a response message.
What level of skill do you have for the following (rank yourself high, medium or low):
- Easily prevents his or her mind from wandering when another person is talking
- Likes to paraphrase what a speaker has said every so often
- Encourages/supports the speaker using non-verbal communication
- Gently questions the speaker about what they do not fully understand
- Takes notes, if necessary, especially if the communication is long or complicated
- Helps the speaker by providing a summary if they lose their 'train' of thought
- Asks questions to "tease out" as much information as he or she can
- Is a highly focused and patient listener
- Quickly clarifies anything that is not clear
- Is good at listening for the less obvious things that people often communicate
- Can quickly focus on the "here and now" when his or her mind has been elsewhere
- Uses careful questioning to keep misunderstandings to a minimum
Predominately high scorers tend to work very hard to concentrate on what the other person is saying. This usually means asking many questions so that there is no confusion or misunderstanding.
A low scorer is likely to pay little attention to the person with whom they are communicating. They tend to ask few questions for clarification (having neither the time nor the interest), and as a result, become confused about what is being said and misunderstand the message. A review of the 12 tips above may improve listening skills.
SEVEN STRATEGIES FOR IMPROVING LISTENING SKILLS
There is no one prescriptive strategy that will fit everyone's situation. You must develop your own personal plane is you want to become a better listener.The information below provides a helpful guide. Review the suggestions as a starting point.
- Concentrate as much as possible on not thinking about your next response while the other person is talking.
- If necessary, take notes on what you hear. Use 'affirming' body language to show the speaker that you are focused on what he or she is saying.
- Be as patient as you can when people are speaking (and especially if they need time to explain something that is not easy to convey).
- Avoid mentally drifting off into your own mental world, because you are likely to miss important points.
- Maintain as much direct eye contact as you can and show genuine and focused interest in the communication. (Avoid showing any distraction---physical or mental.)
- Try to smile at people more often, and be as friendly and sincere as you can when they are talking to you.
- Make a strong effort to put yourself in the others person's shoes and imagine what they might be feeling or where they might be coming from in sending their message.
WORKSHOPS --- BUSINESS SKILLS TRAINING
Safety professionals have outstanding skills for their niche profession, but do they have business skills that enable them to be 'promotable' to higher levels of management?
Our value-added approach takes the fluff out of courses and provides solid content of solutions to implement immediately. Most half-day sessions have participants complete a personal assessment tool to establish their current skill level in the topic area (information is private). Then, areas for improvement are identified and opportunities for improvement are discussed. Finally, an action plan and schedule for deployment are built for each individual.
Our action-packed classes inspire attendees to apply their new skills immediately. Given the right tools and methods, your workforce will be happier and more productive. View the various topics on our website and contact us to discuss your needs.