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Chapter 4. Communication: The Lifeblood ... > Listening: More Than Just Hearing - Pg. 42

Communication: The Lifeblood of Team Success Explain reasons. Answer questions from the team. Motivate team to action. 42 · Don't interrupt. A pause should not be a signal for you to start talking. Wait. · Be an empathic listener. Listen with your heart as well as your head. Try to feel what other people are feeling when they speak. In other words, put yourself in the speaker's shoes. Five Strategies to Make You a Better Listener You can become a better listener. You can stop some of the main causes of ineffective listening before they begin. All you have to do is make a few changes in your work environment and in your approach to listening: a small effort with a big return. 1. Shut off the telephone.The greatest distraction is probably the telephone. You want to give the speaker your full attention--and the phone rings. Answering the call not only interrupts your discussion but also disrupts the flow of your thoughts. Even after you've hung up, your mind may still be pondering the call. If you know that you'll be having a lengthy discussion at your desk, arrange for someone else to handle your calls or set your voice mail to pick up all calls right away. If this isn't possible, get away from the telephone. Try an empty conference room: The phone there won't distract you, and no one knows that you're there--so it probably won't ring. Hide the papers.If your desk is strewn with papers, you'll probably sit there skimming them until you realize too late that you're reading a letter or memo instead of listening. If you go to a conference room, take only the papers that are related to the discussion. If you must stay at your desk, put the papers in a drawer so that you won't be tempted to read them. Don't get too comfortable.Some years ago I was discussing a situation with another manager. As was my custom, I sat in my comfortable executive chair with my hands behind my head. Maybe I rocked a little, but fortunately, I caught myself before I dozed off. Ever since then, rather than take a relaxing position when I engage in discussions, I've made a point of sitting on the edge of my chair and leaning forward rather than backward when engaged in discussions. This position not only brings me physically closer to the other person, but also enables me to be more attentive, and helps me to maintain eye contact. It also shows the other person that I'm truly interested in getting the full story he or she is relating and that I take seriously what is being said. And because I'm not quite so comfortable, there's less of a tendency to daydream. Don't think about your rebuttal.It's tempting to pick up one or two points that the speaker is making and plan how you will respond to them. Do this and you'll probably miss much of the balance of what is being said, often the really important matters. Concentrate on what is said through the entire process. Take notes.It's impossible to remember everything that's said in a lengthy discussion. Jot down key words or phrases. Write down figures or important facts, just enough to help you remember. Immediately after a meeting, while the information is still fresh in your mind, write a detailed summary. Dictate it into a recorder, enter it into your computer, or write it in your notebook, whichever is best for you. No No No No 1. 2. 3. 4. Do you keep interrupting when somebody is trying to tell you something? Do you look at papers during the discussion? Do you come to conclusions before you hear the whole story? Does your body language signal lack of interest? 2. 3. 4. 5. Table 4-1. Evaluate Your Listening Skills Yes Yes Yes Yes