20 Jan A Time and A Place for Listening
Graded on a scale of 1 to 10, a lot of workplace listening probably falls around a 5 or 6. Many people have had some listening instruction as part of their professional development, and have learned that listening requires work and attention, and many people are trying to slow down and stop talking so as to let listening happen. That’s good news!
But serious listening, the kind of listening that helps work through a problem or demonstrates support, requires more than willing attention. Some listening requires a proper setting. For some listening situations there is a right time and place.
Consider these elements for an ideal listening situation:
Time: Pick a time when attention can be devoted entirely to the conversation, and when there is enough time for everyone to be fully present. It is often helpful to plan ahead for a time.
Place: Find a place where there won’t be interruptions or distractions, and where other people won’t be coming in. If it’s your office, close the door. Maybe you leave the workplace and find a corner in a coffee shop.
Attention: Prepare yourself for the encounter so that you are settled and committed to the conversation – a time when you feel calm and grounded and not rushed or distracted by other things.
Neutral: Open your mind to any possibility and avoid leaning toward an opinion or position. Don’t anticipate or guess or plan a defense. Listening is only receiving. You can have a turn at another time.
With this preparation, you demonstrate your respect for the communication process, and you help yourself prepare to be a good listener.
Now that you have the setting, you can begin practicing those good listening skills!
Here are some other communication skills training courses you may be interested in: