98% of all men rated themselves as being in the upper half of the population in terms of their listening skills. Huh? How does THAT math work? Of course, women would be much more accurate in ranking their own listening skills, right? Not!
We hear more about poor listening skills at work than you can imagine. Most people think they’re much better listeners than they actually are.
What is a big payoff for your perception? Engaged listening can make you stand out in a very positive way. It makes you stand out because so many people do it poorly. Here’s a slice of how one client increased his impact as a listener:
- Acknowledge the speaker with more slowly delivered filler words (e.g., “Ahhh”, “Got it”) so you’re not sitting there silently. The quieter you are, the longer they’ll talk to try to get a reaction from you!
- Show you are interested with your facial expressions. Many people look like they’re scowling when they are just concentrating. Avoid impatient nodding or negative head shaking before the speaker has finished.
- Draw others out, ask more questions of them – asking great questions makes you seem wise.
- Acknowledge what you heard so people know their comments had an impact.
- Acknowledge the other person’s point of view thoroughly. You can summarize what you heard them saying in neutral wording … even when you disagree with some, or all, of what they said.
Listening in a more engaged manner can minimize your boredom and give you far more useful information to help you make great decisions. Even though they’re stressed and busy, many people are bored at work. An active conversation can help them, and you.