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communication only is rarely going to suffice. Download free ebooks at bookboon.com
30 Communication Skills Managing Your Career 4.6 Listening Skills
As we’ve learned, a successful sales relationship today involves the seller being able to help the buyer
identify his or his organization’s true needs. The seller helps this process by being able to listen to and
understand what the buyer is telling him.
Good listeners are rare these days. Studies have shown that most listeners retain less than 50% of what
they hear. Imagine what that means when it comes to a conversation that you might have with your boss, a
colleague, or a customer. If you speak for ten minutes, chances are that you have only heard about half of
that conversation – and so have they. No wonder miscommunications happen so frequently!
Studies have shown that most listeners retain less than 50% of what they hear. In order to be a good listener, you should practice active listening skills. There are five key aspects of
becoming an active listener. You are probably already employing some of them, but may need to practice
others. However, once you are using these tools over time, you will find that they get easier and easier.
Plus, you’ll learn so much about your customers and have such better conversations that you will be
positively reinforced each time you practice. 1. Pay close attention.
With this step, you learn to give the speaker your undivided attention. But you also let the speaker
know that you are listening by using acknowledgements – types of verbal and non-verbal tools that
help add proof that you are truly listening.
• Look the speaker in the eyes • Stop any mental chatter • Don’t start preparing your response or rebuttal while the other person is
talking • Make sure your environment doesn’t distract you • Notice the speaker’s body language and tone of voice – what are the nonverbal messages telling you? • If you are in a group, avoid side conversations Download free ebooks at bookboon.com
31 Communication Skills Managing Your Career 2. Demonstrate physically that you are listening. Use non-verbal and verbal signals that you are listening to the speaker attentively.
• Nod from time to time, when appropriate • Use appropriate facial expressions • Monitor your own body language. Be sure you remain open and relaxed
rather than closed and tense. • Use small comments like ‘uh-huh’, ‘yes’, ‘right’. 3. Check for understanding.
It is possible for the other person’s message to get mistranslated or misinterpreted, so
that we hear a message that was not intended. Before responding, it’s important to
check for understanding using these tools. . Use reflecting and paraphrasing. Check that you heard the message correctly
by saying things like “what I hear you saying is….” or “If I’m hearing you
correctly, you’re saying…..” or “I think you’re talking about….”. Ask questions that will help clarify the speaker’s meaning. Suggestions
include things like, “Can you tell me more about…..?” or “What did you
mean when you said…?” or “I think you’re saying… is that right?” Summarize what you’ve heard occasionally – don’t wait until the end or you
might not remember exactly what was said. 4. Don’t interrupt!
There is nothing good that comes from interrupting the speaker. You will only be
limiting your chance of understanding the message because you won’t hear it all – and
because the speaker will get frustrated!
5. Respond Appropriately.
When you are actively listening, you are showing your respect for the speaker, as well
as gaining the information that you need to form your response. Once you have that
information and have clarified it, it’s time to form your reply. When expressing your
thoughts: Download free ebooks at bookboon.com
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33 Personal Confidence Managing Your Career 5. Personal Confidence
We all know someone who radiates self-confidence. Think about one of these people that you know in the
workplace. What is it that their self-confidence helps them to achieve? Are they more willing to take on
responsibility, at ease around their superiors, and able to admit when they have made a mistake?
Now think about someone at the workplace who does not have a lot of self-confidence. They might be shy,
reserved, not willing to get into conversations where they might have to speak to their superiors or speak
in front of other people. They might appear unhappy in the workplace, or at least not very excited about
what it is that they are doing. Can you see how self-confidence might be important to people in being
successful at work?
According to psychological research,...
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- Fall '13