Join Brenda Bailey-Hughes for an in-depth discussion in this video Recall details, part of Effective Listening.
- View Offline
- Recalling the details is our ability to listen for and retain specific points made by a speaker. This type of listening is what you need to do when your boss gives you instructions on a complicated, multi-step task that you're expected to do. We need to listen for details when people are sharing dates that require us to act. Frequently, really talented people hurt their own professionalism and credibility because they let little things slip through the cracks and then end up inadvertently letting people down.
If recalling detail is one of those areas that you most want to improve, try the steps listed in your tips sheet. As someone starts speaking to you, assess if listening for the details is the right kind of listening for you at this point. Ask yourself, do I need to take action on this information, either now or later? What information do I need to remember in order to take that action? Asking these important questions will help you decide what kind of listening focus you should have.
If you don't need to act on the information, let's say your friend or colleague is just wanting to share something with you, then understanding the big picture or listening with empathy will be a more appropriate and effective listening focus. If, however, you frequently find yourself in situations where recalling detail is important, then try these practice strategies to rev up this skill. Listen to the weather forecast, without watching, and then see if you can recall daily temperatures for the week.
Keep trying until you see improvement in your recall. Take notes next time someone gives you instructions on how to do a specific task. Maybe your tech support person is explaining how to clear your cache or how to sort an Excel sheet in a certain way. Take notes and then test yourself by reading the notes back to the tech support person and see if you got it. Or just try following your own notes and see if you can accomplish the task. Recalling the details can save you time, effort, and possible embarrassment.
- 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