Effective Listening Skills

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1 Effective Listening Skills Overview: This class will teach awareness and knowledge of good listening skills Key Goal: To listen to people and show respect to the speaker. List the benefits of good listening skills on the flipchart? How will good listening help you? List jobs that require good listening skills that you are assigned. The SPEAKER and the LISTENER Listening is an important leadership skill. Through good listening, you can acquire information, identify and clarify issues, make decisions, and resolve conflict. A leader s listening skills play a major role in team building. Leaders must be able to connect with their teams, showing concern for them and their work. This connection is accomplished through listening to what team members think, to their plans, and to their ideas. When they believe you are listening to them, team members feel important and respected. In turn, they trust and respect you and perform to the best of their abilities.

2 HOW WELL DO YOU LISTEN? Evaluate your current ability to listen, determine how often you can honestly make the following statements. After you ve completed this entire project, repeat the exercise to measure your progress. Always Sometimes Never I focus my attention on the speaker and don t think about anything else I do not anticipate what the speaker is going to say before she actually says it I wait until the speaker has finished to formulate my responses I look the speaker in the eye, nod my head, and smile while listening to show the speaker I m interested. I do not perform other tasks while someone is talking to me I listen carefully to the speaker even when I disagree with what is said When the speaker has finished, I summarize what he said to ensure I understood correctly. I ask questions when I am not sure about something the speaker said Scoring: Add the circled numbers. If you scored points, congratulations! You re an excellent listener. If you scored points, your skills are good, but they may need some attention. If you scored 16 points or fewer, it s time to make some improvements. NOTES:

3 Effective Listening Skills Page 2 How to Listen While listening may seem like it should be easy to do, it can be very difficult, often requiring more mental effort than speaking. To learn to listen better Seven Ways to Listen Effectively 1. Keep an open mind. 2. Maintain eye contact. 3. Watch your body language. 4. Listen for key ideas and full understanding. 5. Rephrase what the speaker is saying. 6. Ask questions. 7. Evaluate. Listening vs. Hearing Active Listening Show empathy Step into the shoes of others, put yourself in the position of the speaker and observe things from their point. Acknowledge feeling. This will help create an atmosphere of mutual understanding and improve the exchange of ideas in the communication process. Where do we go from here? Apply the behaviors of a good listener by performing any three of the above ways during the next conversation you have at this conference.

4 Active Listening is absorbing what another person is saying and responding to the person s concerns. Learning to listen actively is the key to becoming a good communicator Are you open to what other people say to you, or do you make up your mind about things? Do you become bored when other people speak? Do you interrupt people when they are speaking? Do you daydream at meetings? Are you hesitant to ask clarifying questions?

5 Lecturette Listening vs. Hearing Hearing: Physical ability to accept & transmit sound waves from the eardrum to the brain Listening: Ability to put accurate meaning to that transmission Active Listening: is absorbing what another person is saying and responding to the person s concerns

6 Seven Ways to Listen Effectively 1. Keep an open mind. Avoid making assumptions and judgments before the speaker finishes. Take notes. Clear your mind as though you haven t heard the information. Must pay attention to key points. Be alert. Avoid any kind of distraction. The difference between a "fact" and "assumption." A statement of fact is normally made after an observation. An assumption can be made any time -- before, during or after an observation (or with no observation at all.) We want to operate as closely as we can with facts rather than assumptions. And a good listener tries to stay objective and not be judgmental. Try not to let personal impressions modify what you hear. Keep an open mind. 2. Maintain eye contact. Give the speaker your full attention. Most powerful non-verbal means of giving out messages. People can communicate with their eyes. Non-eye contact is assumed to be avoidance, not interested and certainly not interested. Sadness by lowering eyelids. Raised eyes, raising eyebrows, The mind needs to be disciplined to pay full attention to your customer and to listen closely. Even when you try to listen closely, little things can distract you, like a regional accent, or someone who speaks too rapidly, or when the customer s discussing a topic you don t find interesting. It s easy to be distracted by things happening around you. But don't let that happen. Concentrate. 3. Watch your body language. Relax. Uncross your arms and legs, and refrain from tapping your fingers or making other nervous gestures. Instead, lean toward the speaker and nod and smile when appropriate. Communication 7% Words 55% Body Language 38% Voice Tone Face was mentioned earlier. What about the that reflects response to the speaker? Hands, arms

7 4. Listen for key ideas and full understanding. Seek out and remember the speaker s main ideas and points. For example, if the speaker is relaying the reasons why a major project is being delayed, listen carefully for each specific reason. By carefully listening and letting the customer finish their conversation, you hear them out completely. AVOID JUMPING TO CONCLUSIONS. That's an important step in the direction of keeping an open mind and solving the real problem. 5. Rephrase what the speaker is saying. Show the speaker you understand what he is saying and allow him to clarify if you are missing the point. For example, say something like, If I understand correctly, the main reason for the delay is the design change. Do you Mean? Is that the same as? Can you explain that again? Are you saying that? 6. Ask questions. Confirm your understanding and get more information: Why was the previous design inadequate? How much will the design changes cost? How is what you re saying different from? Will you tell me more about? Is there another way to think of this? Can I tell you what I just understood you to say and then you tell me if I m right?

8 7. Evaluate. When the speaker is finished, think carefully about what he said before you respond. Sometimes the speakers find being listened to without interruption a very special experience. Summarize the facts and summarize the feelings expressed during the talk. Where Do We Go From Here? DECIDE TO BE A BETTER LISTENER In school, you re taught to read, write, do math, and dozens of other topics. I don t know about you, but in all my schooling, I don t ever recall having a course on listening. And yet, as we all know, listening is an important, some would say even a crucial skill. The first step is all about you - your personal commitment to being a better listener. You need to decide to be a better listener. So make that decision now. You re going to be a better listener and you're going to work at it. And here's how...

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