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How Listening Skills Boost Your Influence at Work

Challenges To Listening

  • We have many things screaming for our attention every minute of the day and we often trick ourselves into believing they’re more important than a conversation unfolding right in front of us.
  • We have a biological challenge, too: We can listen about three times faster than anyone can talk. That means we have excess capacity in our brain that will wander off and entertain itself unless we take steps to intentionally manage it.

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How Listening Skills Boost Your Influence at Work

How Listening Skills Boost Your Influence at Work

https://www.themuse.com/advice/the-simple-skill-that-will-boost-your-influence-at-the-office

themuse.com

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Key Ideas

Challenges To Listening

  • We have many things screaming for our attention every minute of the day and we often trick ourselves into believing they’re more important than a conversation unfolding right in front of us.
  • We have a biological challenge, too: We can listen about three times faster than anyone can talk. That means we have excess capacity in our brain that will wander off and entertain itself unless we take steps to intentionally manage it.

The Importance Of Proper Listening

With proper listening you’ll have a crystal clear understanding of the conversation and demonstrate to speakers that you’re invested in what they have to say.

Being a good listener is one of the most potent things you can do to increase your influence and likeability. It is also one of the top skills employers seek in potential and current employees, and it’s correlated with perceived ability to lead.

How To Be A Better Listener

  1. Push other activities from your mind, and be present in the discussion. This tells the other person that you’re ready for the conversation.
  2. Keep a neutral expression that simply says, “I’m listening.” We tend to physically react to what we hear and it disrupts our ability to listen and the other person’s ability to be heard. 
  3. Offer uninterrupted speaking time. Well-intended or not, interruptions makes effective communication impossible. 
  4. Repeat back succinctly and ask validating questions to make sure you heard the speaker correctly.

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Why Interviewers Ask It

This introductory question serves as an icebreaker to lend an easy flow to the conversation. It helps the recruiter to get to know you in terms of hard and soft skills.

It’s a great op...

How to build your response
  • Present: Talk a little bit about what your current role is, the scope of it, and possibly a recent achievement.
  • Past: Tell the interviewer how you got there and/or mention a past experience that’s relevant to the job and company you’re applying for.
  • Future: Continue with what you’re looking to do next and why you’re interested in this job.
You do not have to respond in this order. Tweak it to suit you. Make sure to tie it to the job and company.
Tailor Your Answer

Interviewers want to know how your answer about yourself is relevant to the position and company you’re applying for.

This is an opportunity to articulate why you’re interested and how your objective fulfills their goals. In order to do that, spend some time researching the company. If your answers resonate with them, it shows that you really understand the role.

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Listening requires mental work
We mistake listening as easy because it looks passive and instinctive, but in reality it’s hard work. Really listening (and not just appearing to listen) re...
Mistakes we make in conversations
Our general tendency is to:
  • Evaluate: We judge what someone is saying and agree or disagree.
  • Probe: We ask questions from our own frame of reference.
  • Advise: We give counsel, advice, and solutions to problems.
  • Interpret: We analyze others' motives and behaviors based on our own experiences.
What makes a great listener
  • Asking great questions;
  • Playing attention to the nonverbal communication;
  • Forgoing taking detailed notes to pay better attention;
  • Listening with the intent to understand, not the intent to respond;
  • Making people feel heard;
  • Following up on what matters.
Be the last to speak

This way, you'll be able to hear your team’s true thoughts, which you can to use to inform the opinion you yourself deliver at the end of the conversation.

As a leader, if you speak f...

Shut down outside distractions

A key part of being a good listener is showing the speaker that he or she has your undivided attention. Close your laptop and put away your phone.

This gives those speakers the confidence to express themselves fully without feeling that they’re imposing on your time.

Mind your body language

7 percent of a message is conveyed through words. Body language plays a major role in how we communicate and how we listen.

When you’re listening, then, be aware of what your body language is saying to the speaker. Unfold your arms and be open to what this person has to say.

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