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09/26/07
Essential Transferable Skills. Listening
Filed under: Interviewing, Networking, Leadership, Mature professionals
Posted by: site admin @ 7:58 am

Had to “stop the presses” and share
this finding.  A “Cliff notes” mode article
on a critical topic showed up in the
WSJ CareerJournal section by
Jared Sandberg, “Bad at complying?
You just may be a very bad listener.”

Listening skills are essential the higher
one goes in an organization.  Listening
combines not only understanding the
words, meaning and intent of a speaker
but also the body language, emphasis,
background, and even what is not said;
then integrating and processing.

Mr. Sandberg offers step one (from
a course on Industrial Relations at Cornell),
that is, offering three things we can do
to be better listeners.  Some highlights
of his article are:

 begins with readiness to listen, 

 set your judgments aside.

 three key elements:
   Involved silence (eye contact, vocal encouragements),
   probes (supportive inquiry using
questions like “what” as opposed to
the aggressive “why”) and
    paraphrasing (”What I think you said is…”).

There are several other useful pointers
the ACS workshop on Communication
skills for chemical professionals offers.  Here
we describe specific listening skills and
listening strategies.

Listening skills:
-  develop strategies to manage urges
   interrupt speaker
   facial and body reflection
   defensiveness
-  focus attention on speaker
   listen between the lines (nonverbal,
what is not said)
   avoid distractions
   express empathy, provide nonverbal
signals
-  adapt thought speed and take time to
listen to the whole thought
   assess what speaker wants you to
respond with
   measure the information, feelings
   mentally sum up

Listening Strategies
1.  cues - for easy recall, thought hooks
2.  Ws - where, when, why
3.  tell me more about ….
4.  restate in own words what was said
5.  ask good questions, look for appropriate
timing.

But this takes practice and experience.
This is an essential transferable skill and needs
to be continuously developed and practiced.

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