Create Opportunities to Learn from Listening
- Encourage others to share their opinions, including those that differ from yours.
- Avoid becoming defensive when you receive constructive criticism. Staying open to the advice iswhat will make it constructive.
- Arrange for times to brainstorm ideas and suspend judgment during the free flow of ideas.
- Don't appear impatient. Allow plenty of time for responses.
- Ask open-ended questions that will lead to answers that tell you more than simply 'yes' or 'no.'
- Be accessible so that others can communicate with you during unstructured times.
- In meetings, allow some time for raising issues that aren't on the agenda. Also involve others ingiving reports on different aspects of the business.
- Give people your undivided attention. Don't try to simultaneously tend to other business whilelistening. If other work is urgent, schedule a later time to discuss the issue at hand.
- Don't think about your response while others are talking. Concentrate on their words.
- Don't interrupt. Let people finish expressing their thoughts.
- Try to understand other people's positions on an issue. Take time to consider the information fromtheir perspective.
Pay Attention to Non-Verbal Behaviour
- Watch for facial expressions and body language that signal agreement or enthusiasm. Also note signs of resistance, fear, anxiety or anger.
- Follow up on your observances by asking related questions and probing for genuine responses.
- Become comfortable with silence. It gives everyone a chance to assimilate information and developtheir thoughts.
Let People Know You Are Listening
- Interpret, summarise or paraphrase what you've heard to make sure you understand. Thenrespond.
- Maintain eye contact. Give other non-verbal assurances that you're listening, such as nodding orsmiling. Show interest.
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