Effective communication is an important skill at the workplace. Our ability to advance in our careers, build a business, or develop relationships depends on how we articulate words.
Here are some amazing insights into our listening skills. Take a moment to think about what these insights mean to you and how they impact your life.
- How much are you truly listening to the words that you hear? We hear about 20,000 to 30,000 words a day and listen at a rate of 125 to 250 words a minute. However, we think at a speed of 1,000 to 3,000 words a minute. That means we are filling in the gaps if we don’t hear all the information we expect the speaker to convey. What could that mean about our potential for misunderstandings or jumping to conclusions?
- Do we remember everything that we hear? Most tests conclude that we only remember about 25% of what we hear. The majority of the time we are listening, we are distracted. Immediately after listening to someone speak, we remember 50% of what that person said, but we will remember only around 25% two days later.
- What is active listening? Active listening involves more than just nodding while you listen to the other person speak. When we listen actively, we give the speaker our full attention and ask for clarification if needed or more details. Also, we restate what the other person said to show we were listening.
- What is a tip for being a great listener? Great listeners know how to follow up on conversations by recalling facts and starting a conversation with openers such as “How is X doing?” or “I remember that you said you were….” They are open-minded about what they will hear and will not have preconceived ideas about what the speaker is about to say.
- How does positioning affect the conversation? Getting the right conversation environment changes the conversation dynamic. For example, a dialogue with one person behind a desk and the other person standing up will have a different tone than two people sitting next to each other. Similarly, one person speaking while the other is looking down periodically at their phone will also have a different dynamic than two people talking face to face with appropriate eye contact.
- Importance of listening at work: People with effective listening skills build strong relationships at the workplace. They can build rapport with customers by developing relationships and showing an interest in their needs. Workers who are good listeners understand their work assignments and create trust with their team. Managers improve morale and productivity by listening to their employees and building trust.
- How do you develop listening skills? Focus on being curious when you listen. Don’t just listen to respond. Use proper eye contact and body language and listen to learn something new.
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