Friday, June 10, 2016

Improve Your Communication Skills

Levitt & Associates, Inc. shares why listening better can help you to be more productive...

What is the difference between listening and hearing? It was once explained to one of our associates that during an exam, the room is quiet yet there are sounds everywhere. You can hear the sound of the fan spinning, you can hear the person next to you tapping their pencil, you can hear people outside talking as they walk by the room. Those things are only distracting when you listen to them; when you focus your attention on them.

We often listen for what we want to hear. It's human nature, we like to get what we want. Let's say you asked for some time off during the firm's busiest time. You're told that it just can't happen and that with the workload, people are already going in on weekends and there is only one week left before things really get crazy around the office. Somehow, what you heard was, "Go ahead and take your time off as long as it's in this next week before things really get busy at the office." Not exactly the interpretation your boss meant to leave you with. 

Sometimes, we listen for what we don't want to hear. Think back to a time when you were offered constructive criticism on your work, "Great job on the report, we love it and we're sending it to the client tomorrow. One thing I can mention is that the colors on the graphs should be the client's colors. It would add a little something extra." Somehow, through all the positive praise, all you hear is, "You're report wasn't good enough." What you interpreted was not at all what the feedback stating.

Take the time to listen and focus on what they are saying. Notice their facial expressions and body language. Pay attention to their voice inflection. Take note of their mood, timing, and agenda. 

Stop hearing and start listening. 

Levitt & Associates, Inc.