Listening Skills (part two): Why Should We Listen To You?
28 Oct

Listening Skills (part two): Why Should We Listen To You?

We often pride ourselves on our strong listening skills, yet we are guilty of demonstrating the complete opposite not only when listening to others, but when we want to be listened to!

 

Last week, we looked at how to be a better listenerbut good listening works both ways; you must make sure that you are not only listening to others, but that people also want to listen to you.

 

How to make sure others want to listen to you:

 

  • Know what you want to say. This may be easier if you ‘think to speak’ rather than ‘speak to think’, but take time to consider the main points you want to get across before you speak.

 

  • One step at a time. Ensure your audience is more likely to understand you by making one point at a time. This is preferable to overwhelming them with too many ideas at once. This can also help to focus your own thoughts whilst speaking.

 

  • Slow down! If we are anxious or excited, we often talk too quickly. It’s worth listening to a television newsreader and you will hear that they speak much more slowly than you do. Strive to emulate the professionals by adopting an effective rate of speaking. It’s a skill worth practicing.

 

  • Fight the monotone. A monotone voice can convey to the listener that you are bored or too controlled. Again, this takes practice, but it is well worth the effort.

 

  • Right place, right time. Think about the environment where you are talking and respect the subject matter. People speak more freely and openly when they are comfortable. Don’t have a potentially sensitive discussion with someone in a public setting.

 

  • Repeat and confirm. From time to time, it can be worthwhile asking your listener to repeat what you have said to check their understanding. This avoids misunderstanding and differing perceptions that can lead to confusion and frustration down the line.

 

Thanks for listening!

 

Right Trax Training are a learning & development consultancy who are passionate about helping businesses to develop their people to be better at what they do. Get in touch today to find out how we can help.

Listening Skills (part one): How Good Are Your Listening Skills?
21 Oct

Listening Skills (part one): How Good Are Your Listening Skills?

Being a great listener is a valuable skill that we can all work at improving and developing…but how often do you stop to consider just how good your listening skills are?

 

Here are some techniques you can try to increase the effectiveness of your listening skills:

 

  • Concentrate on really hearing the speaker. Try to clear your mind of other thoughts or agendas you may have, and just focus on their voice.

 

  • Two ears, one mouth! During conversations, aim to consciously listen for around 75% of the time and try to speak for only 25% of time. This is one of the most powerful ways to ensure that you are learning all you can from the other person. If you ask a question, be sure to really listen to their answer before asking another one.

 

  • It’s not what you say… Use your body language to show the other person that you are interested in what they have to say. Nodding is a powerful but silent way of showing that you are interested in hearing them. Think about how you know when others are listening to you – for example you might notice them leaning forward and maintaining eye contact. Try to watch for physical gestures towards you and ensure that yours are compatible.

 

  • Stay in the moment. Try not to think about what to say next whilst you are listening. Our brains work much faster than the human voice and therefore your brain can easily lose the ability to concentrate on the other person’s voice. As a better alternative, trust in the fact that you will get your chance to respond when they are done…and for a bonus tip: silence is okay too! It shows that you are respectfully listening and considering what someone has to say.

 

  • Listen between the lines. Pay attention to the other person’s speaking style. Do they speak loudly, or softly? Slow or fast? Knowing which style people prefer means you are more likely to get agreement or ‘buy in’ if you also use their favoured style when it’s your turn to speak.

 

  • Let them finish. Be patient and let the speaker finish each of their points before you offer your opinion or contribution. Taking time to check your understanding, or asking for time to summarise, shows the other person that you are really listening – and that you will expect the same from them.

 

Before we go, our friends at Merlin have put together a great resource of tips for crucial customer support problems, which you can view here.

 

Thanks for listening.  Come back next week for help on making sure others want to listen to you!

 

Right Trax Training are a learning & development consultancy who are passionate about helping businesses to develop their people to be better at what they do. Get in touch today to find out how we can help.

How Resilient Are You Feeling Right Now?
29 Mar

How Resilient Are You Feeling Right Now?

No matter how many organisations we work with, the one constant we see continues to be change.  This in turn is impacting on our levels of resilience during these turbulent times.

Consider these five tips for not only maintaining but growing your resilience:

 

1. Look after yourself. Get enough sleep, eat well and keep moving. Our physiology heavily influences our readiness to deal with the challenges life throws at us.

2. Be thankful. AKA: have a half-full glass! We can choose to look at our life and be thankful of the positive elements whilst acknowledging what we may like to improve, rather than focus on the negative.

3. Have perspective. Life moves so fast; how often do we ever just stop to take stock of the importance of what is actually happening? Teach yourself to stop, take stock and ask yourself: just how important is this really?

4. Be the change. You need to accept this: change happens. That’s not going to change (!), and it’s not going to go away, so shift your perception of change and embrace whatever opportunities it can offer.

5. Know what makes you tick. By increasing our levels of self-awareness, we become more attuned to our style, our preferences and how we react inwardly to outwardly events. Do more to understand yourself.

 

By developing our outlook we can truly prepare ourselves for the constant challenges our professional and personal lives throw at us each day.

 

Get in touch to find out how Right Trax Training can help you and your people perform at their best.

 

Thanks and remember: be resilient!

The Power of Perception
21 Mar

The Power of Perception

optical illusion cat

We all claim to know how important it is to look at the world from another perspective, but how often do we actually do it?

 

I was talking to a friend and colleague recently who was venting about how they disagreed with one of their client’s decisions not to take the recommended advice being offered, and I asked one question: “Why didn’t they want to do it?” to which he was stumped.  “I dunno” was his response; and it got me thinking.  Either he didn’t question enough or he wasn’t putting himself in his client’s shoes (or both!).

 

How often do we actually do that though?  Stop, and think about things from someone else’s perspective.  My belief is that many of us say we do when it’s a very different story in the heat of the moment, be it at home or at work.

 

When we talk about ‘perception’, it’s nothing more than our own view of the world, which by its very nature is distinct, different and unique for each and every one of us.  It begins to form from birth and is moulded by our values, beliefs and experiences…hence why everyone’s is so very different.

 

At Right Trax, we often introduce this idea of perception during MBTI or Insights Discovery training and workshops by using a few optical illusions.  Try this one with the revolving cat, which is another take on the popular revolving ballerina…

 

1. Stare at the image above and see if it is moving to the left or to the right (if the image is not rotating on your screen, you can find it at the link below).

(Image provided by Pech Misfortune from http://www.moillusions.com/2010/06/spinning-cat-optical-illusion.html)

 

2. Now keep staring at it for a while longer and see if it changes direction.  For some people it will and for others it won’t, it doesn’t matter (although if you only see it moving one way or the other, trust me: it can change!).

 

Something like this helps to quickly hit home just how often we all can see something differently when looking at exactly the same thing.  It doesn’t automatically mean that one person is right and one is wrong, just that they are seeing it from two different perspectives.  But think how often that happens to us, just at work let alone outside of it.  It’s practically every day isn’t it?  And it is how we then deal with these differing perceptions that contribute to how successful or not our personal impact and interactions are themselves perceived to be by others.

 

So next time you feel yourself about to react to someone else’s perception, I urge you to stop and put yourself in their shoes; try and see the world from their point of view.  I promise, if you do this, things will look different for reasons that are just as valid as the ones that have formed your own perception.  Once you can appreciate the other perceptions you can then move towards having easier, more cohesive and just downright more enjoyable relationships, be it with colleagues, your manager or you husband / wife / boyfriend / girlfriend / best friend!

 

At Right Trax Training we can help your managers and teams to understand the power of their perception. Get in touch to find out more about the MBTI and Insights Discovery training and workshops that we offer.

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