Anybody listening?

When it comes to good communication, it’s not just what you say, it’s how well you listen. You might hear what people say but do you really listen?


Was I talking to myself?listen

As part of running my own business, I drink a lot of coffee. Over a coffee, I meet people who may be interested in working with me. Sometimes I know who I am going to be meeting. Sometimes I don’t.

Recently, I was approached by a lady expecting such a meeting. I quickly realised I was not the person she thought I was and told her so. Did she hear me? Yes, she joked with me about meeting the wrong person. Did she listen? Clearly not. Even though I had told her my name, it took her a further 5 minutes before she realised I was not Francis. A case of too busy talking, not enough listening.


Listening In the Workplace

Interviews can be just the same. It’s so easy to focus so much on asking the questions that you don’t listen to the answers. Interviewers should aim to talk for just 20% of the time. After all, what will you learn about the candidate from listening to your own voice?

Ask open questions. Listen to the answers carefully. Have they told you what you need to know? Can you dig deeper? Does it sound like a prepared answer? It may well be. With thanks to Fiona Bishop of FB Training Solutions, here are some questions they may not be expecting:

  • Tell me about a time when you failed. What did you learn from it?
  • Is there a time when it’s OK to break the rules?
  • What is the worst attribute in a co-worker?
  • What would your current boss say about you?


Practice how to listen

Learning to listen is a skill. Luckily, we have a golden opportunity to practice. We face yet another election in June. That means politicians trying to say what they want to say, not necessarily what the interviewer wants to know. If you listen to a debate, listen carefully to the answers given. Did it really answer the question? Did you find out what you needed to know? If you were the interviewer, what follow up questions would you ask?

Listening takes real concentration so make sure you will not be interrupted. That goes for any other type of meetings with your employees. No one likes to feel they are not as important as the call you just received. Not listening properly to your employees can make a bad situation even worse.

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