To listen effectively, you have to listen at multiple levels.
A good listener can demonstrate that they’ve logged the facts, understood the emotions and uncovered the associated values and beliefs. This kind of listening dramatically improves team effectiveness. Here’s some great ways of showing that you’re listening at all the levels.
Level 1: Checking the Facts
That’s interesting. Tell me more about that? Example: Your take on new customer acquisition is interesting. Tell me more about it.
I am hearing two different issues in what you’re saying. Am I hearing you correctly? Example: I’m hearing an issue about Bob being late and being rude to the admin staff. Am I hearing you right?
You used the word _____. What do you mean when you say that? Example: You used the word investment. What do you mean when you say investment in our high potentials?
Level 2: Understanding the Emotions
You used the word _____ several times in your presentation. I’m sensing that you feel very ____ about this issue. Example: You said critical several times. I’m sensing you feel a real sense of urgency about our expansion.
As you were talking, your voice got quieter and quieter. How are you feeling about this issue? Example: As you were talking about your concerns about the Marketing Department, your voice got quieter and quieter. How are you feeling about bringing this issue forward?
I’m really interested in what you didn’t say when you were just talking? What should I infer from that? Example: You didn’t mention excitement when talking about the promotion? How are you thinking about the opportunity?
Level 3: Uncovering Values and Beliefs
I heard you say _____ a couple of times. What this discussion is triggering for you? Example: When you were talking about our challenges with the Risk Management team, you used the term “putting on the brakes” a couple of times. What do you see as the role of Risk Management?
I am hearing several reasons why you think we shouldn’t proceed. What do you see as the risks of going this way? Example: I am hearing many reasons why you think we shouldn’t hire Sasha. What do you see as the risks of selecting her?
It feels like this is at odds with how you think things should work? What do you think is important to protect here? Example: It feels like talking about a more narrow strategy is really at odds with how you think about the purpose of the hospital. What do you think is important to protect here?
And if none of those is to your liking…
Help me understand… There’s no statement that says “I’m listening and what you’re saying is important to me”.
What do you say to show you’re really listening? How does listening (or not listening) affect your team effectiveness? Share your comments.
Liane’s Back to Basics Listening Drill
Tips to Improve the Connection when you Communicate
Communicate With, not To