Back to Index
download printable version (Word DOC)
Refining the Art of Listening
17) Listen carefully and assist those who strive to hear you.
Half of communication occurs in listening. As previously discussed, when one person communicates an idea to another, the recipient views that information through a lens which relates what is said with the experiences and perceptions of the recipient. The recipient should, therefore, reiterate what they think they’ve heard in order to achieve common understanding of an issue, and eliminate any chance for misunderstanding based on subjective interpretation of terminology and contextual perception.
In order to better fulfill the role of listener, practice the following:
- Be attentive
- Resist the urge to interrupt -- though, respectfully halt the conversation and ask for clarity when necessary.
- After your opponent has finished speaking, confirm what you think you’ve heard by restating any essential points in your own words.
- Write down important points.
When you have the floor, in order to assist your opponent in receiving your message as you intend,
- Speak clearly.
- Speak slowly – but not so slowly as to irritate your opponent.
- Maintain an appropriately approachable tone.
- Deliver a consistent message.
- Be wary of distracting your audience with unnecessary movement, nervous ticks, weird verbal inflections, exaggerated emotional expressions; or, sudden, wild gestures.
- Pause between major ideas or concepts, allowing your opponent to process new information.
- Provide your opponent an opportunity to ask for clarity.
- Answer questions directly.
- If using visual aids, provide a brief context, allowing sufficient time for your opponent to study and interpret your aid before re-opening relevant discussion.
- If it is complex, recap the essence of your presentation with a concise summary.
- Keep your discussion relevant – stay specifically on topic.
Back to Index
Copyright © 2006 Lisa Bracken
Copyright © 2006, The Negotiator Magazine