This article is called “12 Most Valuable Listening Skills” (http://12most.com/2012/11/05/12-valuable-listening-skills/) and basically deals with the literal skills involved in listening to a person. This can be relevant to management because a critical part of leadership is communicating with your team, most of which could be through listening to their ideas and input. The first skill the article discusses is paying full attention, because it gives them a sense of value and that their idea is important. Next, ask another question, because it helps develop your interest and gain further knowledge on the topic. Thirdly, seek clarification when you’re not sure, so that the person knows you are following along and so that you fully understand the concept. Next you should maintain eye contact, because it helps build a relationship with the person you’re talking to – eye to eye contact is typically best. Follow up by summarizing what you hear, because it shows the other person that you were listening to their opinions. Number six is to avoid being disturbed, so that the person feels more important by having your undivided attention, free of distractions. Next you should say less in order to make it about them, because your job is to listen thoroughly to their ideas without putting your own two cents in. Next is to follow through on what you said you will, because a major part of listening has to do with reflecting on what you heard and keeping your word. Remember that body language counts, because by being expressive in a positive way, you can show the other person that you have an interest in what you’re hearing which can once again exhibit their importance. Number ten is to switch stuff off and focus, major distractions present day include phones, computers, pagers, etc., but by turning off these distractions, you are once again giving the person your undivided attention. Next, ask them to say it again for effect, because this can avoid confusion by simply asking the speaker to rephrase what they have said, which can also deepen your understanding of the conversation. Lastly, prepare for action, because by listening effectively to others, there is better chance that they will listen to you, thus building trust in the relationship and giving you support in critical times of need. The article ends by talking about the main benefit of effective listening – the improvement to your leadership skills which is inevitably an advantage to everyone who you are in charge of.
For the week of November 26th.