Active Listening Cues

Most recently, my clients have either benefited from - or explicitly requested - information about active listening. As a mediator, active listening is one of my most important skills. Active listening:

  • Is the best way I know to ensure that I understand what is being communicated.

  • Allows me to ask about and better empathize with the emotions behind whatever is being said.

  • Helps forge and enhance relationships - professional and personal.

I’ve written about active listening before, and today I read a new, short piece by Daniel Goleman about it. He writes about what research has shown, namely that active listening requires sensing, processing, and responding. Most importantly, it requires unitasking - shut off the phone, turn away from the screen, and - if at all possible - shut down the part of your brain that brings up your to-do or shopping lists!

Still, both my previous posts and Goleman’s latest provide more of a philosophy than a basic tips sheet on active...

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What Listening Has to Do with Retention

This morning I had the pleasure of hearing Danny Nelms, President of the Work Institute, present about the real reasons employees leave their jobs. There are 50 different reasons employees choose to leave their workplace.

50!

The Work Institute is an HR consulting firm that treats exit interviews like academic research studies, and every year they create a report that summarizes – with anonymized data – what they have learned about why employees left their companies in the prior year.

Apparently the truism that “people don’t leave jobs, they leave managers,” is sort of, kind of, not really true. Here are the top three reasons people choose to leave their jobs:

  1. Lack of career development

  2. Work-life balance

  3. Managers

Yup, managers are number 3! But look at those first two things - they are absolutely aspects of work that managers have a lot of control over. Yes, company-wide policies set limits on career development, promotion, flexibility, and paid...

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Mediator Tips: Active Listening

Listening is a magnetic and strange thing, a creative force. The friends who listen to us are the ones we move toward, and we want to sit in their radius. When we are listened to, it creates us, makes us unfold and expand.

Psychiatrist Karl Menninger, 1893-1990

Recently, I’ve spoken to several small business owners, salespeople, and fellow mediators and professional facilitators about how the skills used in mediation translate to so many other arenas of life. The most important one, I think, is listening well. Great listening skills can help pretty much all the time: at work, in friendships, while parenting kids of any age, and when talking to neighbors, clients, friends, loved ones… pretty much anyone.

We all have a basic need to be listened to, to be understood. Listening to understand helps you comprehend, sympathize, and identify with the other person. In conflicts, and often throughout life, only when a person feels that their story (or point of view) has been ...

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