Join Brenda Bailey-Hughes for an in-depth discussion in this video Prioritize the best listening type for each situation, part of Effective Listening.
- We hope you now have a better understanding of the five different types of listening. You even know which ones you're best at, and which ones you need a little work with. Hopefully you've written down some practice strategies to improve those weakest listening areas in your life. - Before we move on, though, we have to stress the importance of selecting the best type of listening for any situation. Let's say you hone your skills, and now you are an awesome empathizer. You go to the doctor tomorrow, and the doctor starts giving you detailed instructions on some actions you need to take in order to improve your health.
This is not a good time for you to listen empathetically. Can you imagine how silly that might be? "So, doctor, I hear you expressing a concern for my health. "Does my health make you feel nervous?" No! This is a time for you to understand the big picture, and to listen for details. You'll have really missed out if you choose the wrong kind of listening. So, we're going to practice in a couple of situations. Watch this clip from the lynda.com "Having Difficult Conversations" course.
Note how the man in the blue shirt, who is the manager in this situation, should have been listening. Of the five types, identify the one or two most important for this situation. - Thanks for agreeing to meet with me, Joe. - Yeah, but I'm not sure why this couldn't wait until our regular meeting, but go ahead. - Well, I wanted to talk to you about the dynamic I've noticed in our interactions. It seems like you're getting more critical of my suggestions, and I've gotta tell you, it's starting to make me feel like you don't value my contributions. - That's not true.
Most of your ideas were used in our last product, or have you forgotten that? Listen, Scott, it all comes down to the same thing. I want you to stop undermining me in front of others. That's the real problem here. - I'm sorry you feel that way, but it's not just me. I've noticed that you're demeaning everyone's work and it's starting to affect the morale. - Look here, that's ridiculous and you know it! I'm always watching out for you guys, looking after you. How do you think you got that raise? It's not my fault you have mediocre ideas. My job is to make sure only the best ideas move forward.
- Yeah, but you don't have to insult people. Maybe if I had more time to prepare, I could come up with better ideas. I mean, you find fault in everything, and no one's gonna want to work on your team anymore. - The real problem here is you need to adjust your attitude. The rest of our team is producing good work and everybody else seems happy here. I'm the boss, this is how I lead! Take it or leave it! I gotta get to another meeting, we're done here. - So, what do you think? We think he should have been listening with a whole lot more empathy.
He would've been better off asking himself, "How is my employee feeling?" If he had paraphrased what he was hearing, he might have prevented this entire blow-up. - Let's try another one. In this clip from my presentation fundamentals course, Katie, a human resources employee, gets a visit from a supervisor. Which of the five types of listening is most important for Katie in this situation? - Hi Katie, how are you? No, please, please, go ahead, sit down.
How are you doing? - I'm good, thank you. - Excellent. I'm sure you've already seen the strategic plan that we laid our earlier this month? - Yes, I have. - Great. Well, we're really looking forward to establishing some more context in Brazil, and getting our foot into South America. H.R. did a great job helping us out with our rep training on the Mexico market, and I think it's about time to start the conversation about entering in this new region. Do you think you could put together a presentation for the execs? To kind of tell them what they'll need to consider before they enter in this new market? - Wow, I'm honored that you would think of me.
When would it be? - It would be at this Friday's meeting, I'm thinking 10-15 minutes long, with a QA. - Hmm, that doesn't give me much time, does it? - Well, I know, but you are up for that new director's role, and presenting in front of the execs is an excellent opportunity to show why you really deserve it. Are you up for it? - Yes. Can I follow up with you if I have any questions? - Absolutely. - Okay, great. I guess I'll get started on this right away.
- Sounds good. - Okay, thanks. - Did you choose "recall details"? You can hear Katie trying to get the details when she asked when the presentation was scheduled, and how long it would be. But did you also think about how important it would be for Katie to understand the big picture in this listening situation? She needs to know more than just the details. She needs to grasp the overreaching context as well. She would have benefited from asking a few strategic questions, for example, "Why Brazil? What other countries "are under consideration? "How much do executives know about Brazil "and investing in Brazil? "What are their major concerns?" This scenario calls for at least two types of listening.
Recalling the details and understanding the big picture. - Like Katie, we probably all have a default listening style that we go to. We encourage you to become more intentional, more purposeful as you select the best listening approach for each unique situation. - So now we've gone over the five types of listening. Recall details, understand the big picture, evaluate content, attend to subtle cues, and last one, empathize.
Remember to select the best fit for your next listening opportunity.
- Recalling details
- Avoiding distractions and the feeling of being overwhelmed
- Clarifying your role
- Using attentive nonverbal cues
- Paraphrasing what was said
- Matching emotions and mirroring