According to an infographic from Getting In Front Communications, subscribers of Harvard Business Review rated the ability to communicate “the most important fact in making an executive promotable.” They ranked it more important than ambition, education, and hard work. (Source: Piombino, Kristin.” Listening Facts You Never Knew.” Ragan’s PR Daily. Web. 29 Dec. 2013).
Learn to Listen
With today’s busy workplace, listening is a skill helping people be more comfortable and productive at work. Knowing your employees’ needs starts with listening. Learning what your clients want starts with listening. Building trust starts with listening. Breaking down barriers between departments begins with listening. Discovering new innovative ideas to grow your revenue or reduce your expenses begins by listening. So, apparently, no one can afford NOT to listen. It is essential to long-term success.
Listening is not merely the ability to stop talking. Active listening requires you to attach meaning to what you hear and take thoughtful, appropriate actions on that information. The Personal Listening Profile by Wiley Publishing breaks down listening into five different approaches. Each approach has a very particular role and set of behaviors that bring the listening approach to life.
Approach #1: Appreciative Listening
When to use it: It is important to use this style when you are building relationships. It is the first level of listening we do when we are getting to know someone and networking. You might call this your small talk listening. Some people disregard this as a time waster when it is the gateway to building trust and relationships. People share vital information with you in these conversations that will help you connect at the moment and recall the next time you see them.
3 Behaviors to ignite your appreciative listening:
- Relax and enjoy the moment.
- Match the level of enthusiasm the person is demonstrating when they tell you a story.
- Focus on them, ask them questions and be curious about their story.
Approach #2: Empathic Listening
When to use it: Empathic listening is the approach to use when someone needs a supportive ear. It is the part of yourself that you use to understand the emotions behind a message. This listening approach is very efficient when listening to a person’s complaint, investigations, coaching and motivating your team.
3 Behaviors to ignite your Empathic listening:
- Ask open-ended questions like “how did that make you feel?”, “can you tell me more about?”.
- Let the sender of the message know you care by nodding and providing good eye contact.
- Remain relatively silent and let the sender of the message to do most of the talking.
Approach #3: Comprehensive Listening
When to use it: Comprehensive listening approach is perfect to use when you need to make sense of what you have heard such as in situations when you need to understand the big picture or intention behind the message.
3 Behaviors to ignite your Comprehensive listening:
- Take notes using by mind mapping so that you can show relationships to the content.
- Summarize frequently, “so, what I hear you saying is…”
- Try to explain the message in your words to the sender of the message.
Approach #4: Discerning Listening
When to use it: The Discerning listening approach is best to use when you want to get complete and accurate information. This style is all about capturing the details and making sure that you do not make mistakes. It is an ideal listening style when you need to learn a new procedure or technical skill.
3 Behaviors to ignite your Discerning listening:
- Take notes in a linear and step by step format.
- Eliminate distractions.
- Repeat back exactly what you heard them say. Do this frequently to make sure what you heard accurately reflects what your sender of the message intended you to hear.
Approach #5: Evaluative Listening
When to use it: The Evaluative listening approach is used when making a final decision at the end of a conversation. It is our most vocal listening approaches, and it is important to use. If someone sends you a message and they want help making a decision, this is the listening approach for you.
3 Behaviors to ignite your Evaluative listening approach:
- Ask questions.
- Be skeptical so that you are clear about the question and the details you are deciding on.
- Summarize the details you heard, the question that needs the answer, provide an answer and why you came to that conclusion.
We all have the ability to use all five listening approaches. Maximizing your communication moments requires that you match up the situation with the appropriate listening style.
Are you curious about which is your strongest and most natural listening approach? Equally important, are you curious about which listening style you could use more of to capture more effective communication moments? Call us at 808-224-6694 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org to inquire about taking Wiley Publishing’s online Personal Listening Profile.
Click here to get your FREE Personal Listening Sample Profile from TH!NK. (PDF)