Today's Virtual Coffee w/ Community: Active Listening

  • 2 July 2020
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Hello to the Operations Experts in this group!

Today we had a small but mighty group join us for our virtual coffee chat to discuss active listening. This recap will be a great test for me personally to see how actively I was listening since we didn’t decide to take notes on the call until about halfway through, so wish me luck!

Today’s chat was led by @Melanie Rohat-Meheust as a follow up to her post from earlier this week, which can be found here. If you haven’t read it yet, take a moment a click through to do so. 

@Briana Okyere and @Rachel Huckfeldt also added a lot to our discussion on a topic that I know will apply to anyone that has to verbally engage with another human being in some way, shape, or form. So that probably means you. 

Here are some of the highlights from our chat but I would love to hear your thoughts on the topic. What are some of the things that work best for you in your conversations with others? How does your approach change when speaking with someone or a group remotely? We want to hear about it!

 

Active Listening:

-Removing distractions when engaged in conversation is vital. Put your phone away, close your laptop (if in person), stop doing the dishes, etc. and focus on the person you are speaking with. Even if you feel like you are listening, it is signaling to the other person that what they are saying isn’t worth your full attention. 

-Non-verbal cues matter. Eye-contact, head nods, smiling, and turning to be face-to-face with the person speaking signals we are fully engaged. This means turning on your video when possible to give you access to the non-verbal cues you miss over the phone.

-Sometimes though, especially in today’s work from home environments, removing the other distractions simply isn’t possible. Your kid may walk into your office mid call, you may be dealing with putting out a big fire with a client or coworker that is really pressing. In these moment’s having enough trust and comfort with each other to say this is just not a good time and we will need to connect later on. Extend grace. Don’t take it personal. Assume the best. 

-Emotionaly intelligence seems to be an important part of being a good active listener. Being able to read the room a bit in what your coworker is feeling in the moment is really important in being able to properly engage and connect with them. Are you paying close enough attention to how the person you are chatting with is feeling to properly meet them where they are at?

-Realize everyone has different preferences or triggers in regards to feeling heard. Some people really need your full attention to feel heard and others may be fine with conversing while there are other things happening. Care enough about the other person you are speaking with to respect their preferences 

-Seek to understand, not to be understood. One of the best way’s to show someone that you are truly hearing them is to ask great follow up questions to better understand what someone is saying. If we are so consumed with what we want to say in response we are likely missing a lot of what the other person is truly saying. 

 

It was really a great, actionable conversation and I hope something in this discussion leads you to lean and think a little bit more about how you are approaching your conversations in both your personal and professional lives. What did we miss? What do you have to add? I want to HEAR what you have to say!

 


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Was a pleasure to be involved, thank you for summarizing our chat so eloquently Brandon!

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