Effective Listening for Effective Communication

Most of the times as professionals we attend many trainings on effective communication. Great deal of importance is been given to communication, to deal with public speaking and many workshops have been arranged for communicating effectively. Good speaker is sought-after skill.

Public speaking is considered to be an essential ability for those who desire to advance their career in business or climb the ladder to higher posts. But considering all the noise concerning the importance of speaking, listening is literally brushed aside.

It can be argued that listening is equally as important as speaking. Everyone expects to be heard and understood, and we reward people who provide us with those opportunities with our trust and loyalty. The best way to understand a person is to listen to him.

Listening skills are hard to develop as we are always told to be speaking out loud to be noticed. For a great leader to be, listening skills are of utmost importance.

Few ways to increase listening ability:

Focus: How would you feel if you are speaking to someone and found that they are distracted by something and not really listening to you?

Effective Listening for Effective Communication

Effective Listening

You probably thought this was annoying, and disrespectful. At that point you may have even become angry or shut the conversation down. When someone is speaking it is really important to be focused and be fully present in the moment with them. If you have anything else in mind, like replying to text message let the person know about it, get your thing done and give complete attention to the person talking to you. It would really help if you not just focus on words but also on the tone, facial expressions.

Empathy: When someone is telling you something, try to imagine yourself in that situation. Make an effort to understand their point of view. People will appreciate that you made the effort to understand and really hear them. An appreciative listener is always stimulating.

Summarize: If someone is taking to you and seeking advice, it’s always better to summarize what you understood from the conversation. Let them know you heard them carefully and clarify in case of any doubts. This builds confidence between the speaker and you.

Listen, not hear: Most people are thinking about their replies when someone is talking. Instead of doing that, try to listen and understand what the person is saying. Stephen Covey stated once “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.”

Free from Prejudices: People who are curious see conversations as learning experience. They are free of preconceived notions are open to different point of view.

If you want to gain influence in the workplace its way more important that you listen more than you talk.

Of all the skills of leadership, listening is most valuable – and one of the least understood. Most captions of industry listen only sometimes, and they remain ordinary leaders. But a few, the great ones, never stop listening. That’s how they get word before anyone else of unseen problems and opportunities.”

-Peter Nulty, National Business Hall of Fame Fortune Magazine

Motivation in Monotony

Several times we aren’t happy with the current professional graph of ours. We might not be enjoying the work we are doing. Unfortunately, not every job is going to be a challenging. Repetitiveness and monotony is faced by all of us at some point or the other. However, it is still important to do the best at what is asked for. It is always highly appreciated if we do the job with integrity and full conviction and prove to our employer (and most importantly, to ourselves) that we’re willing to do the given work without complaining or letting our quality of work slide

The ability to do well at a not-so-fantastic job will help us getMotivation ourselves in the door at jobs that are closer to what we really want. Motivation in the workplace can be as simple as wallpaper on our computer screen that gives us a whole new mindset of productivity. It is possible to excel in a job that we don’t like, and the potential payoffs for our hard work could be innumerous.

Few pointers to keep the motivation alive at workplace:

Challenge yourself: Though the work you currently doing is not as challenging as you want, you can always find more efficient ways to do it. Try finding out different ways to keep a challenge alive. Figure out what is out of your comfort zone and strive hard to achieve and later excel in it. It could be writing MS Excel macros, improving presentation skills, focusing on how to improvise client interactions etc.

Be Thankful: Even though you aren’t enjoying your work profile at present, there are so many things around you in your organization to appreciate or to be thankful for. It could be the facilities they provide, the flexibility they offer or just be thankful for the coffee machine at your expense. There are always many things to be thankful for: a helpful colleague, canteen fellow or for that matter a house-keeping guy.

Root out Negativity: There would always be many people around who keeps on hen-pecking, gossiping and spreading negativity around. It’s always better to keep away from such people.  Negative attitude towards the employer doesn’t harm employer but to you only! It clutters your mind and takes you away from your real goals. It takes all your energy in wrong things.

Expand Your Skills: Reading more about your domain and keeping yourself updated with the current developments in market is always a boost-up. It channelizes the energy and gives a positive result for sure.

Make a change when inevitable: Sometimes it’s impossible to keep ourselves driving in the monotony or it’s apparent that the situation is not going to get better any soon; quitting is the right option then.

As Irving Wallace as rightly quoted “Every man can transform the world from one of monotony and drabness to one of excitement and adventure” People like hard workers, and they find motivation and inspiration in them. Be that person!

We are what we repeatedly do

For many of us, today’s corporate life is a restricted life to a cubicle or a cabin where we spend around 8-10 hours daily. In order to convert the “spend” into “invest” we have to inculcate good habits to make a strong impact at work place which would help in building a powerful career. Investing time in correct way always helps in achieving better results.

Sculpting our day is very important as it helps in sculpting our career. As Aristotle has rightly said “We are what we repeatedly do!” Hence daily habits are the most important part of our professional life.

“To-Do” List: It is important to prepare a “to-do” list at the start of the day; it doesn’t only help in keeping the track of the work-load, but also to prioritize. While dealing with different tasks/responsibilities at same point, we find ourselves in dilemma which task/responsibility should be completed first. To-do list helps us to differentiate the task on the basis of priority, necessity and importance. It helps in expediting on getting things done.

Industry /Domain Knowledge: To remain “in-demand” one should always know what’s being demanded. We should always find time to read about the industry updates we are in.  Whether it’s a new technology or economic effects on the industry one should be well-versed with it. Being informed is of utmost importance to build a healthy career.

Focus on Developing Interpersonal Skills:  Besides our domain knowledge, we should invest time in instilling interpersonal skills. It could be improving email writing skills, presentation skills, handling the meetings effectively etc. These things don’t develop overnight but takes times. If we focus on these little etiquettes it would do wonders for us.

Nourishing Professional Network: We should take an extra effort to build a strong rapport with the professionals around, not just in our organization but on social networking sites too like LinkedIn. This always adds value to our knowledge base and helps in flourishing our career.

Japanese have earned strong reputation for being extremely diligent and sincere.  One way they have earned their reputation is to use the time at the end of the day to always clean up all of those little tasks and start the new day fresh. Uncluttering the desk and mind is the way towards success.

Do the right thing

I am very sad to understand that most employees are not dedicated to the work to do but still want the employer to be dedicated to pay their wages. No doubt, it is the employer’s responsibility to pay the wages on the defined date, but at the same time isn’t it the employees duty to do his JOB, I mean isn’t the employee supposed to “Do the right thing”.

I have seen employees cribbing for them not being paid on time, but not seen any one saying that I did not do my job today. Most people just go to work and fill in their time, waste their time in doing all the possible nonsense things, basically most take their work as “Time Pass”. This according to me is not ethical work. And I want everyone to answer 1 question to themselves, or be honest to themselves, and say are they honest to their work, do they really deserve the salary that they are being paid for most of the people the answer is “NO”, but that depends on your honesty.

My suggestion to all, respect, love, honor and lastly justify your work there are many people who will die to get the kind of job that you are doing but you are the lucky ones who have it.

An honest attitude towards your work will make you a successful person some day. More than being successful person, you will surely be a satisfied person for sure, this will help you live as well as die with a clean conscious.

Resolution made simple

In the Last blog I said that I will be explaining the easiest way of finding solutions for any problem, well here it is, do you remember the game in our daily news paper “Maze”  or more commonly known as “find the path” where all of us cheated and started from the destination to the start point, just to win.

Problem resolution is just the same.

Let me explain to you how, like the game we know what the Problem or the start point is. We also know what the result or destination should be, all we need to find is the correct way or solution. So we start from the desired result, and then move backwards towards the problem one step at a time to find out the best way.

Let me explain this with an example:

One major concern in any corporate is de-motivation among employees. If this is the problem or the start point in the game, the desired result is motivation which is nothing but the end point in the game.

Now most people will try all the different ways to motivate, some could be useful and some use less so what they do is trial and error. To make it quick and to have a quick result I will go the other way round. I will understand what motivates my team is it money, appreciation, pat on the back, pep talk etc. then when I find out the motivating drug for them I just give it to them. That becomes the solution instead of giving them all the drugs that I have and waiting for it to work, I give them what they need. This way I reach my goal quickly.

Similarly all the other issues could be resolved by understanding what is essential to get the desired result.

I will not give petrol to a thirsty man, nor will I give water to an empty fuel tank of a vehicle.