Listening is something I practice, and most of us need to practice listening, like an internal workout. I get better if I am listening with intention – leaning in and really focusing on what the person is saying. Not thinking of what I will say or how I will respond, which is what most of us want to do.
Here are some things that I do to help me focus and listen:
1. When a coworker walks in to ask me something or start a conversation
- I stop
- I turn my chair to face them
- I ask how can I help them.
They usually ask if I am busy and I almost always say “no – I have plenty of time for you.”
- And I make eye contact and am ready to listen.
If I am on the phone or in the middle of a project I can’t stop right then – I let the person know I will come get them as soon as I am done. This is important, because if they are needing something from me, it means I am holding up their job.
2. I try to not interrupt, note I said “try”. It is one of the most challenging things to do – or not do.
My newest challenge is to listen to them and not say anything – NOTHING… Just listen. When they are totally done I can respond or ask them more questions to clarify, but zero interruptions.
3. Listen, don’t jump to conclusions, and don’t judge.
4. Don’t pretend to listen. If you lose your focus, ask the speaker if they would repeat that last part for you.
5. Don’t give them your solutions. Remember this is your practice time. If they really need solutions let them know you will think about what they said and talk again later.
6. Ask Questions to help them dive deeper into their situation themselves.
7. Ask if they are done or if there is anything else they would like to discuss.
8. Think about what the conversation was about and consider what you learned from the experience.
Contact us if you need a team that listens!