Is Listening An Overlooked and Forgotten Skill?
In every strand of business, it is understood that good communication and rapport within the workplace are key to employee happiness and motivation. But too often, people mistake the concept of communicating for that of putting their view across and making themselves understood.
It should come as no great surprise that communication is a two-way street, so why is so little attention paid to the art of listening? Nowhere is communication more important than in functions such as recruitment where the human aspect is just as important as business and commercial considerations; specifically, consultants should listen to and understand the needs of an organisation so that they are well-placed to hire some talented individuals to join the company.
Listening is equally important for Managers and Interviewers and Interviewees !
Here, we take a look at the basics behind the lost art of being a good listener.
Listening is more than just listening
There is more to understanding what someone is saying than the words that come out of their mouths. Indeed, half of what a person is really saying is conveyed in non-verbal terms. Be aware of body language and other clues, such as intonation and facial expressions.
It is easy to go off on a tangent during any meeting or discussion, but be careful; you can end up losing important information that someone was trying to tell you. Try to stay on track, and if the person you are listening to says something that triggers a reaction, try to keep it to yourself until they have finished saying their piece.
Patience is as important as focus, and potentially more so, when it comes to being a good listener. Time and again, people will listen to the first half of a sentence and then be so keen to say what they want to say that they essentially make the rest of it up. More often than not, they end up entirely missing the point.
A good tip here is to repeat back the key points of what the other person has said. This serves multiple purposes: giving the speaker the chance to correct any misconceptions, reinforcing the message for the listener and making it clear that you have really been listening!
Put your phone away
We have all been guilty of glancing at our phone or laptop in mid conversation, but it is a guaranteed way of building barriers in a conversation. Not only will you be likely to miss the point, but the speaker will probably feel that you are not interested anyway. Not a good recipe for success, so do yourself a favour – put the phone on quiet and out of the way, and close the laptop.
If in doubt, ask
It might sound obvious, but if you are not sure about the point that someone is trying to put across, the best thing to do is ask. The alternative means you will be filling in the gaps from your own perspective, leading to confusion and frustration for all concerned.
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