"Is Ineffective Listening Hurting Your Professionally?"

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"Is Ineffective Listening Hurting Your Professionally?"

Poor listening habits should be a serious concern to executives. When other people talk, do you really listen with your fullest attention? Do you remember the names of those you meet at functions? How well do you really know your clients? How well do you remember instructions?

So much time is wasted by a lack of communication. Studies show that most of us listen at only about 25% efficiency level. That means we don't remember 75% of what is said to us! Hearing is not the same as listening. Active Listening requires certain skills to receive, organize and interpret what has just been said.

Here are some helpful tips for Effective Listening:

#1 - Be relaxed and be in a receptive stance, not anxious or perched to respond. Keep focused on what they are saying and use good eye contact.

#2 - Listen with the intention of understanding and ask for clarity when needed. You are to listen, not to teach, fix, analyze, interrupt or defend yourself at that moment.

# 3 - Make listening a fun activity. Tell yourself that you are going to give everyone you talk to your full attention.

#4 - Don't be impatient with speaking pace. Different parts of the US have various paces of speech and International executives need time to express themselves properly in English.

# 5 - Don't argue until you have heard the total comment. Many times we jump to conclusions before the sentence is completed, then we look foolish.

#6 - When listening try to summarize what they have said. Can you repeat the main points of what was just said either out loud or in your mind? How well do you remember?

#7 - Be an "active listener" by maintaining good eye contact, lean forward, nod your head to show agreement and politely comment for clarity or enhancement of conversation.

#8 - Avoid distractions. Keep focused on the speaker. By looking off in other directions or not maintaining good eye contact is a non-verbal communication signal that you really aren't interested. If you are truly not interested in the conversation, politely stop the conversation, shake their hand and leave.

#9 - Don't anticipate what is going to be said and try to finish their sentence. Listen to the whole sentence and clarify if necessary. Listen to their needs and concerns and leave your comments out of conversation. Many offenders can't wait for the speaker to stop so they can talk about themselves.

#10 - If emotionally charged words or phrases are used, don't start an argument. People are either not sensitive to their comments or they are ignorant. If offended by their comments, calmly state your view. If they retract their statement or apologize for offending you then continue conversation, otherwise stop conversation immediately.

# 11 - Listen to the tone and interpret the speaker's voice implications. Is the speaker upset? Depressed? Happy? Be compassionate to their need for you to listen.

# 13 - Use good body language when listening. Keep a nice arm's length speaking distance, arms can either be by your side or held at your waist ( not crossed)

A good conversation is when you know as much about the speaker as they know about you. Taking turns to listen and speak. Asking open- ended questions to stimulate a good dialogue. This is how customer loyalty is built and friendships develop.

About the Author

Joli Andre, president of Polished Professionals a San Diego, CA based company specializing in staff training on American Business Etiquette and International Protocol. She is trained and certified by The Protocol School Of Washington, D.C., and a member of The National Speakers Association and the author of "Business Etiquette Mastery: The Power Of Executive Leadership". http://www.polishedprofessionals.com 858/759-9560

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