The most important thing in communication is to hear what is being communicated both verbally and non-verbally and to also ‘hear’ what is not being said!
One of the important factors that can help to build relationships – and the greatest gift you can give people – is to actively listen to them. When you listen intently and focus on every word whilst making it clear that you are genuinely interested in what people are saying, they feel respected, their self-esteem rises and they feel more worthwhile and important. Listening actively and ‘listening’ non-verbally also help us to understand and deal with the differing styles of communication of men and women.
Many people are poor listeners and have never been taught how to listen properly. Almost everyone enjoys talking about themselves and it is therefore important that we practice active listening skills.
Most people speak at an average rate of 120 words a minute. However, our brains are capable of processing more than 500 words a minute, which means that our minds start wandering off and thinking about other things and then we become poor listeners.
When you are listening to someone it is appropriate to listen for at least 80 per cent of the time and speak for 20 per cent. You will speak to clarify your understanding, to show you are listening by paraphrasing, and when the other person asks you for an answer. You should also speak at the end to summaries your understanding, and you should pause before doing so as this gives you time to reflect on what you are going to say.
‘Focused listening is the ability to concentrate on every word spoken, assess what is meant by them, identify the hooks and react to them.’
Richard Mullender (trainer and police hostage negotiator)
You can only respond to what you think you have heard and understood – make sure you understand exactly what is being said and what is meant.
If you want to shine in your role, take a look at the training courses we offer at Bingo Traders. Designed specifically for EAs, PAs, Admins, Office Managers,… , these learning opportunities provide the skills and knowledge you’ll need to excel.
Sue France / Photo on Unsplash