Join Brenda Bailey-Hughes for an in-depth discussion in this video Responding inappropriately, part of Effective Listening.
- Let's imagine that you've managed to avoid all of the listening challenges we've discussed so far. You are focused, you have cleaned your mental filters, you have stopped doing everything else and are really tuned in, and you are even prepared to cope with the excessive amount of information that sometimes comes our way. You are getting an A-plus in listening, but how you immediately respond when the other person stops talking tells that person a great deal about you as a listener.
Let's take a look at some of the most common response mistakes that people make. Making it about yourself, or what we like to call the autobiographical response. Criticizing. Even if it is subtle, if you disagree or criticize someone immediately after they finish speaking, they will never think of you as a good listener. Providing advice without being asked. Oh, we're all tempted to give advice to others. After all, we want to be helpful, but giving advice when we haven't been asked doesn't demonstrate the best listening in some situations.
Focusing on the facts, not the emotion. If we focus our attention on details of the story and we miss the big picture, or the feelings that the speaker has about the situation, we've failed to be a great listener even if we know trivial specifics. Let's watch Tatiana on a day when she is not at her listening best. - Hey, how was your weekend? - Oh my gosh, it turned out to be so much fun. We, sort of at the last minute, packed up the kids and went to that new amusement park and they had a blast.
The weather was a little chilly, but they did this whole water park thing, they rode on tons of roller coasters-- - Fun, amusement parks are great! Did I tell you, we've been to, we've probably been to Disney about four or five times but the kids really enjoyed it, and there was one time that we took the grandparents too, it was really, really, really good. We haven't been to that amusement park though that you talked about, I think we're gonna take the kids there too. That's a great idea. Hey, how was your weekend? - Oh my gosh, it was awesome. We, sort of at the last minute, decided to pack up all the kids and head to-- - Your four kids, last minute, hhhmmm, crazy.
- We went to this amusement park though, and it was so much fun. - Wow. - Yeah, it was a little chilly but the kids were still able to get in the water park that they had, and then they-- - You, last weekend, with, it was pretty chilly! You let 'em go in the water? - Oh no, they were fine, and then they went over and they rode on the roller coasters-- - After they were wet? - Yeah, I think it was a little-- - Okay, they're all going to have colds the next week, you wait and hear! - Oh, I think they'll be fine. - You're going to be working from home. - (laughs) They'll be alright, and there were a ton of roller coasters, you ought to try it some time.
- Sure, I think we'll go. Hey, how was your weekend? - Oh my gosh, it was awesome. We ended up, at sort of the last minute, deciding to pack up the kids and take them all down to the new amusement park. Oh my gosh, they had so much fun. - Oh, that's great. - There's a water park there, and so even though it was a little chilly they got in the water and they swam, and then they hopped out and did a bunch of the roller coasters. - Did you, the tickets are pretty expens-- where did you get your tickets? - Well we just bought 'em there at the park. - You should get 'em at the grocery store, they've got 'em discounted now, I mean, you probably paid a lot of money.
- Well, maybe we'll do that the next time. - Yeah, I know. - It wasn't bad though. - Yeah, yeah, you know, talk to me next time you wanna, I know where all the cool ticket prices are. So how was your weekend? - Oh my gosh, it was awesome. We decided, sort of at the last minute, to pack up the kids and take them to the new amusement park, down on the south side. Oh my gosh, they had-- - The south side of town, or the one that opened right by the border? - The more, just south of town. - Ah, okay. - But anyway, they had so much fun.
There's a water park in there, so they got to go, even though it was a little chilly, they got in the water, they swam, they-- - What do they keep the water temperature at? - Um, you know, I'm not really sure, but-- - What route did you take? That's a new, is there a new direction? - We took the five down, I think, yeah, so um, anyway, what was I saying? The ah, oh, so they got out of the water park and they went back into the roller coasters and they just had so much fun. - Oh my gosh. - It was great. - It was so chilly though. - As you can see, even though Tatiana may have listened really well, as her conversational partner, I don't feel very good about the interaction if she responds in any of these ways.
Imagine if instead she had simply paraphrased the content and the emotion of what I'd been talking about. What if she had just laughed with me about the good time I had with the kids over the weekend, big difference, right? Tatiana will demonstrate exactly what a great paraphrase response might look like in business situations in an upcoming section. In this situation she could simply have said, - So how was your weekend? - Oh my gosh, it was so much fun. We packed up the kids and took 'em to that new amusement park, they had a blast.
Rode the rides, got in the water, it was so much fun. - Oh, it sounds like you had a great time, what a fun weekend! - It really was. - Cool. - Yeah, thanks for asking, how was your weekend? - It was cool. - So there you have it, the top five challenges to listening. Which one are you most susceptible to? Take a moment to identify which of these listening crimes you tend to commit most often. Got it? Good, because your listening improvement begins right now.
- 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