Active Listening as a Corporate Development Tool

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What happens when you and your employee, friend, family, or client talk to each other? Do you think it is a productive endeavor and an effective meeting? It is doubtful. Most likely, the interaction may make the other person feel unheard of, unseen, and not taken seriously.

Our communication skills allow us to create, transmit and thrive. As a leader, boss, entrepreneur, or manager, you need to be able to share a message and receive one. The ocean does not flood the coast. Instead, he gives and receives. There is a push and pull towards its existence and an immense power, almost hidden from view.

Related: Why active listening is a critical skill for founders and entrepreneurs

What is active listening?

When you visit your doctor, what do you expect him to do? Listen. But that’s not enough, is it? They can’t stay in the room. Each patient expects their healthcare provider to listen to their concerns and problems and absorb the information in a useful way. Unfortunately, a major cause of medical errors and unintentional harm is distracted listening. Physicians with better active listening skills can diagnose and treat patients more effectively, because they have a more holistic view of the patient.

As a leader in your field, how did you develop your skills? They did not develop in a vacuum. Instead, you have seen, heard, and learned how others have acted, and you have used this knowledge to gain your current position. If you want to continue with this growth and performance, active listening will be your most effective tool to improve your vision of the industry.

Active listening is taught to teachers, liaisons, auxiliaries, interpreters, police, social workers, and religious leaders. By definition, it requires all your attention to the purpose and meaning of the speaker’s intentional communications. However, it is more than just hearing the words. Active listening involves both listening and understanding why the speaker communicates these ideas or thoughts. The “why” is, by far, more critical than the actual words.

Four rules of active listening

There are only four rules for active listening. However, it can be difficult for management to deploy these skills without practice and intentional interactions. Here are the rules:

  1. Focus on your interaction with the speaker to understand their perspective and message before asking them to understand yours.

  2. Enter the interaction without judging what could be communicated. Past actions should not define future decisions.

  3. Pay attention: lower your phone. Face them. Look them in the eye.

  4. Be quiet. Your silence allows them to be more open and confident.

When is active listening important?

Most likely, you have found active listening in every aspect of your life and potentially every day of your life. However, every moment of life may require a slightly altered version of active listening. Mastery of all situations leads to better communication in the future during unique or unusual events. So here’s when active listening is important:

Personal life

A spouse, family member, parent, or child deserves a moment of uninterrupted time. However, the people most affected by our lives may be our children. Giving them the right kind of care builds healthy bonds and teaches them to be stable, empathetic adults. For example, being an active listener to a child could mean repeating and responding to a silly comment or pride in getting a spaghetti creation.

Business life

You may not have to interact with children in your professional life, but you will earn the respect of your peers if you treat them as individuals with valid opinions rather than gears on a machine. Active listening and answering with inquisitive questions make the speaker speak and explore his thoughts. It encourages creativity and trusting communication. Tactical follow-up questions could provide golden moments of information.

Corporate environment

Active listening should be included in the corporate culture as a respected tool for all employees. Active listening can positively affect productivity, mental health in the workplace, communication within the walls of diversity, and even employee retention rates. The more employees are heard and seen, the more important they feel.

Related: Understand the importance of listening for effective communications

How do you improve your active listening skills?

When you practice active listening, the first thing you need to learn is that listening is not listening. You can hear the birds, but that doesn’t mean you can understand them. Take the speaker’s words as you take a deep breath. Breathe them into your mind and dissect them.

Learn to shut up. Silence is a tool. Closing their mouths allows them to open theirs. Let the speaker finish his thinking before answering. Your words may answer your question or raise more critical questions.

Use body language to show that you are involved in the conversation. This usually involves standing or sitting to indicate that the speaker is the center of attention. This could include nodding your head or gesturing with your hands as you respond.

Always answer. Don’t parrot what they just gave you. Instead, sum it up. Ask if you have expressed your opinion correctly. Ask a research question for clarity. Create an extension to your logic. However, do not judge. Leaving them on the ground makes them feel like they’re wasting their time and can negatively affect future interactions.

If possible, share your thoughts and comments with others. Communicating your ideas to others reinforces your initial listening act. In addition, they will feel empowered by your act of respect. Just make sure you give them credit.

What not to do while listening actively

Active listening should not focus on what should not be done, but on uninterrupted listening. First of all, here’s a list of the most common mistakes that make any communication or interaction difficult:

  • Prejudice – judge while the speaker is speaking – judge the opinion in the follow-up response

  • Develop a counter-argument or discard the thought before the speaker has finished communicating

  • Listening without understanding or just listening to the facts instead of the intention

  • Allowing differences in diversity to interfere with or affect the moment in a negative way, usually based on preconceived notions of the individual or what he or she is offering.

  • Multitasking while trying to listen

Communication is an art. However, it is also a skill that anyone can develop with the right time and practice. When you meet someone who interacts with you through active listening, you can feel better about yourself, your actions, and your personal well-being. These are the listeners for whom you want to work, invest, and pursue success.

Related: Listening is an art and mastering it will make you a great leader

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