Are you more receptive to people who you believe are trying to understand you - even if you never reach a point of agreement?
For most people the answer to this question is YES.
Most of us like to feel as if our perspectives are being given a fair hearing. When that happens, regardless of outcome, we are more receptive to the person who is giving us the opportunity to fully express ourselves. How do we treat people with whom we are more receptive?
- We are more tolerant of their missteps;
- We want to be around them;
- We seek their counsel, or at a minimum, use them as a sounding board;
- We are willing to have a give-and-take conversation with them (even if it will end with an agreement to disagree).
We previously discussed how active listening can help to resolve and prevent workplace conflict in 0ur posts, Basic Techniques For Handling Existing Conflict and Beginning To Creating A Culture of Zen In The Workplace.
However, these skills are also useful to employers and employees in many other situations. They include:
- Interviewing for a job;
- Client meetings and presentations;
- Team meetings among colleagues;
- Negotiating with a vendor, partner, subcontractors; etc
- Communicating with your managers and supervisors.
Though we discussed the process of active listening in the posts referenced above, the factors that go into Active Listening are as follows:
- To actually take the time to LISTEN (do not zone out or plan your rebuttal)
- Follow rather than control discussion
- Leave plenty of room for expression
- Use your non-verbal communication skills that are consistent with good listening
- Validate the Speaker's entitlement to his/her point of view
- Recognize the emotions and meanings that are being to communicate with you (i.e. show empathy)
- Seek clarification with open-ended follow-up questions
- When it's your turn to speak, summarize what you heard the speaker say in your own words to clear up any potential misunderstandings.
Learn more about improving your active listening skills
At Zen Workplaces, our primary goals are to help you (i) improve your skill-set and (ii) achieve peace of mind. In so doing, we hope to aid you in your efforts to smooth the obstacles you face at work, in business or simply life.
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