Developing effective listening skills
Listening is another key management skill and is the companion to speaking. Listening involves hearing and understanding the message the speaker is conveying, then confirming to the speaker that the message was received as intended.
Before you can assess if you are an effective listener, you must determine if you have any listener shortcomings.
- Demonstrate impatience as you wait for others to finish speaking?
- Offer solutions before the concerns have been completely described?
- Interrupt the speaker?
- Indicate boredom with your body language?
- Find your mind wandering, resulting in missed information?
- Hear only what you want to hear?
If you are guilty of any of these poor listener habits, you should improve your listening skills.
Listening is more than hearing spoken words. It includes the mental processing of the entire message. You may consider:
- Listening for key ideas.
- Determining the basis of the information provided.
- Viewing the information conveyed from the speaker’s perspective.
When you are listening effectively, you process information, ask questions, remain focused and active, keep an open mind, and pay attention.
When you are not listening effectively, you disregard information, do not ask questions, are passive, have preconceived notions, and are easily distracted.
Next time an employee is speaking with you, focus to make sure you are really listening to what they have to say and fix any bad listening habits.