Irrespective of your professional domain, it is crucial to maintain a healthy relationship
with your existing network and learn ways to expand it further.
It is essential for your career success that you maintain a positive reputation. The key to doing this is managing your workplace relationship, your reputation, and the desired performance results.
In this blog, I will briefly discuss Active Listening as a resourceful way to manage the three areas above (Relationship, Results, and Reputation) for being successful in building relationships in both your professional and personal life. This is very valuable wisdom I gathered when I took a Communication Essentials Course and applied these techniques, which have helped me to effectively network.
Why active listening is important?
Active listening demonstrates that you are engaged in the conversation. Listen to how people communicate. The message that is communicated has both facts and feelings.
Not everyone is able to compile and convey their message correctly. For example:
Your colleague comes to office who lost his wallet on the way to office. Here are few examples of the people bring their personalities and communication style when they pass on this message.
Communicator Type #1: Ugh… I lost my wallet
Communicator #2: Someone will now get access to my credit card as I lost my wallet on the way to office
Communicator #3: I lost my wallet and I am afraid someone will use my credit cards.
The key to building good relationship with the communicator is dependent upon your ability to listen, hear and understand the message being conveyed.
Identify the situation: Look for both the ‘facts’ and ‘feelings’ in the message.
Here are different methods of active listening:
We do this by reflecting the thoughts the speaker currently expressed back to them. When they feel heard, it is easier to address the situation.
Simple signals: We use traffic signal to stop, go, or yield. Similarly, in communication, we use simple signals to demonstrate we are engaging in active listening. Some words that can be used to show active listening could be:
- Really? Elaborate on that.
- You just mentioned… What’s going on?
- Tell me more. What’s up?
- Wow! What’s happening?
When saying phrases such as, “tell me more”, it makes the other person feel that what he/she is saying is important, and therefore encourages them to say more.
This strategy helps to keep the conflict level lower and ensures that people are being heard and understood. Make known to people that you care about them by reflecting their feelings.
Some of the feeling words you can use are: Anxious, Concerned, Confused, Disappointed, Discouraged, Distracted, Frustrated, Puzzled, Uncertain, Uncomfortable, Unhappy, Upset
Listen intently to what the other person is saying, identify key words, and underlying meanings. Then rephrase what they have said in your own words to indicate that you were listening. Paraphrasing is a golden listening tool.
Paraphrasing can end with two approaches to what was being said
- Calming and Influencing. For example, saying things like:
- So you’re concerned…..
- It sounds like you are disappointed because….
- You don’t have to be in agreement with what was being said. The possible best way to say this is:
- So for you, it’s important that….
- So you’d like to see…..
Paraphrasing can lead to making room for many ideas. For example say things like:
- So these are your ideas and these are Jim’s ideas…
- So you think that we should do this way and consider this…
Paraphrasing can also lead to closure
Paraphrasing helps to clarify agreements, ensuring that everyone is clear about what has been discussed and decided. You will notice that when you paraphrase their ideas person on the other side relaxes and has no need to talk further about that particular subject because he or she feels truly understood.
Example: “You’d like it better if your spouse spend more time helping around the house. Is that right?”
Paraphrasing gives more time to think and gives you more information as well
With the intention to paraphrase you listen more carefully and gather more facts and have learned more about the person telling the story.
Hope this information will help you to be a good networker and relationship builder with success in every aspect of your life.
Concluding with the few important key points on effective communication techniques:
- We should listen to understand
- Do not engage your thoughts and say anything while listening. Let your brain spin
- Do not ever try to fix someone
- Shape their judgement
- Use the sandwich technique when giving feedback. Articulate in a way that shows you care about them and they should be able to understand what you think
- It is always crucial to build rapport and do active listening before giving the feedback
I was told in my communication essentials course that, “People will forget what you said or what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel.”
Make others feel good by implementing structured communication techniques. Observe the impact of the reputation, the relationship, and the results derived when using this approach.
I wish you find that the information I have passed on through this blog is useful. This post was aimed at helping you communicate in a more sophisticated manner, and I hope it did just that!