Listening can be our most powerful communication tool! People speak at 100 to 175 words per minute, but they can listen intelligently at 600 to 800 words per minute (WPM). Since only a part of our mind is paying attention, it is easy to go into mind drift - thinking about other things while listening to someone. The cure for this is active listening - which involves listening with a purpose. It may be to gain information, obtain directions, understand others, solve problems, share interest, see how another person feels, show support, etc. It requires that the listener attends to the words and the feelings of the sender for understanding. It takes the same amount or more energy than speaking. It requires the receiver to hear the various messages, understand the meaning, and then verify the meaning by offering feedback.
There are a number of situations when you need to solicit good information from others; these situations include interviewing candidates, solving work problems, seeking to help an employee on work performance, and finding out reasons for performance discrepancies.
Skill in communication involves a number of specific strengths. The first is listening skills. A manger should be a good listener. The following lists suggests some for effective listening when confronted with a problem at work by Managers:
- Listen openly and with empathy to the other person
- Judge the content, not the messenger or delivery; comprehend before you judge
- Use multiple techniques to fully comprehend (ask, repeat, rephrase, etc.)
- Active body state; fight distractions
- Ask the other person for as much detail as he/she can provide; paraphrase what the other is saying to make sure you understand it and check for understanding
- Respond in an interested way that shows you understand the...