By: Mandy Bowling
Whether you think you are a good listener or not, which a lot of people are, but there are always things we do… bad habits… that affect our listening skills. In chapter 8, O’Rourke does a good job discussing feedback and listening, but one thing I saw that really caught my eye was how great of a job he did pointing out the poor habits that we have, whether we recognize them or not, when it comes to listening.
According to the text, the first step in becoming a more effective listener, in the workplace or in our personal lives, is to identify the poor listening habits we’ve developed over a lifetime and replace them with effective, productive habits. There are simple things we do that we may not even realize WE are doing, but the people we are listening to, do realize it. A few things, that in my opinion are very common, are talking, not listening. Sometimes people just want to vent, not hear us talk and we think that giving advice is the way to go, when really all we need to do is wait till our comments and opinions are asked for. Another common habit is faking attention to the speaker. Yes, there are times we are sitting in the work place and feel that the lecture you are hearing can put you asleep. Trust me, the speaker(s) can tell. Just smile and nod, it’s what we were taught since high school. There are many more habits that O’Rourke points out and it is important that we recognize them.
Just recently, we had a meeting for a promotion we were doing in the spring, and the man who was sponsoring the promotion we ON AND ON about the same thing OVER AND OVER again. Yes, it was quite repetitive and annoying, but my job was to sit there, listen to him, and give him my opinions and comments on how I think the promotion should run. Another assistant in the room thought other wise. Instead of being professional, he got bored and stopped listening and gave a bit of an attitude towards the man, because in his mind “we had all the facts we needed so it was time to move on and go home”. When the sponsor continued to speak, he asked him a question, and unfortunately, the assistant had been staring off into space and answered the man with a attitude and the wrong answer. It was funny, because it was about something we had discussed earlier, but then changed our minds on how to run it and so he was caught off guard and the sponsor knew he wasn’t listening in the meeting.
Listening isn’t just about getting the facts right, even thought at is VERY important, but it is always a sign of respect. Listen to what people have to say and good things come out of it. We are always put in situations we don;t want to be in, but whether you like it or not, you are there for a reason, so listen to what is being said.