Seven Ways to Become a Better Listener
- Don’t talk on the phone, text message, clean your desk, or do anything else when you are listening to a team member.
- When you are busy listening to a team member, avoid interruptions of any kind.
- Try to spend 90% of your time listening and less than 10% of your time talking.
- When you have to talk, make sure it is related to what the team member is saying. Use questions to clarify, expand and probe for more information.
- Only offer advice when the team member asks for it.
- Make sure the physical environment is conducive to listening.
- If the conversation is of such a nature that you are required to take notes, try to not let the note-taking disturb the flow of the conversation.
In order to listen effectively team leaders have to listen actively. The following are the three basic components of active listening.
- Identify where the team member is coming from. This concept is also called the frame of reference.
- Listen carefully and attentively to what the team member is saying.
- Respond appropriately to the team member, either non-verbally, with a question or by paraphrasing.
Sending Good Signals to Your Team
When you are listening to your team, there are three kinds of cues that you give them. To communicate effectively with your team it is essential to use the right cue at the right time.
- Non-Verbal: Body language forms an essential part of communication. Show the team member you are listening through head nods and facial expressions.
- Quasi-Verbal: Use filler words like,”uh-huh,” and “mm-hmm,” and show the team member that you are interested in the conversation.
- Verbal: Asking open questions, paraphrasing, and asking summary questions, are all essential tools for active listening.