The Power of Listening

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The Power of Listening :

The Power of Listening Chris Carter, Training Coordinator Office of Human Resources March 25, 2003 Employee Development Center


Credits International Listening Association (ILA) March -- Listening Awareness Month HighGain, Inc. ( ) Monster ( ) OnPoint Services

What is Listening? :

What is Listening? listening (ILA, 1996): the process of receiving, constructing meaning from, and responding to spoken and/or nonverbal messages; to hear something with thoughtful attention Effective communication is 2-way depends on speaking and listening

Listening vs. Hearing:

Listening vs. Hearing Hearing - physical process; natural; passive Listening - physical & mental process; active; learned process; a skill Listening is hard! You must choose to participate in the process of listening.

Fast Facts:

Fast Facts We listen at 125-250 wpm, think at 1000-3000 wpm 75% of the time we are distracted, preoccupied or forgetful 20% of the time, we remember what we hear More than 35% of businesses think listening is a top skill for success Less than 2% of people have had formal education with listening

Percentage of Communication:

Percentage of Communication Mode of Communication Formal Years of Training Percentage of Time Used Writing 12 years 9% Reading 6-8 years 16 % Speaking 1-2 years 30% Listening 0-few hours 45%

Why Be A Good Listener?:

Why Be A Good Listener? Needs of the Customer… To be recognized and remembered To feel valued To feel appreciated To feel respected To feel understood To feel comfortable about a want or need

Slide 8:

Listening is the most powerful form of acknowledgment …a way of saying, “You are important.”

Listening builds stronger relationships …creates a desire to cooperate among people because they feel accepted and acknowledged.:

Listening builds stronger relationships …creates a desire to cooperate among people because they feel accepted and acknowledged.

Slide 10:

Listening promotes being heard …”Seek first to understand, then be understood.” - Stephen Covey

Slide 11:

Listening creates acceptance and openness …conveys the message that “I am not judging you.”

Slide 12:

Listening leads to learning …openness encourages personal growth and learning

Slide 13:

Listening reduces stress and tension …minimizes confusion and misunderstanding, eliminating related stress and tension

Slide 14:

Listening is CRITICAL in conflict resolution …much conflict comes from the need to be heard. Successful resolution depends on being a non-anxious presence .

Barriers to Listening:

Barriers to Listening Equate With Hearing Uninteresting Topics Speaker’s Delivery External Distractions Mentally Preparing Response Listening for Facts Personal Concerns Personal Bias Language/Culture Differences Faking Attention

Bad Listening Habits:

Bad Listening Habits Criticizing the subject or the speaker Getting over-stimulated Listening only for facts Not taking notes OR outlining everything Tolerating or creating distraction Letting emotional words block message Wasting time difference between speed of speech and speed of thought

When Are You Listening?:

When Are You Listening? Non-Verbal Encouragers Verbal Encouragers

Active Listening:

Active Listening … Allows you to make sure you hear the words and understand the meaning behind the words Goal: go beyond listening to understanding

Active Listening Requires…:

Active Listening Requires… Definite Intent to Listen Focus on the Speaker Verbal and Non-Verbal Encouragers Feedback Loop to Insure Accuracy

Active Listening (4 Steps):

Active Listening (4 Steps) Listen Question Reflect-Paraphrase Agree

Step 1: Listen:

Step 1: Listen To Feelings As Well As Words Words – Emotions -- Implications Focus on Speaker Don’t plan, speak, or get distracted What Is Speaker Talking About? Topic? Speaker? Listener? Others? Look At Speaker Use Verbal & Non-Verbal Encouragers

Step 2: Question:

Step 2: Question 3 Purposes Demonstrates you are listening Gather information Clarification Open-ended Tell me more? How did you feel? Then what happened?

Step 3: Reflect-Paraphrase:

Step 3: Reflect-Paraphrase Reflect What Is Said (In your words) Reflect Feelings Reframe Capture the essence of the communication Remove negative framing Move toward problem solving

Step 4: Agree:

Step 4: Agree Get Speaker’s Consent to Your Reframing Speaker Has Been Heard and Knows It! Solution Is Near!


Activity Speaker – talk for 2 min. Listener – listen using the skills we’ve discussed Observer – observe the application of the skills and take notes

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