Listen Better: Change How You Listen

Sometimes I find myself listening to respond or rebuttal and not really listening to understand or comprehend. I hate to admit it, but its true. 😦

However, knowing your weakness or areas that need attention is half the battle — so I’m always interested in articles and resources that are aimed at making me a better listening. Tonight during my regular look of articles on the net, I found this gem from Ted — and you KNOW how I love me some TedTalks. In his talk, Julian Treasure says that we spend about 60% of our unconscious time listening, but we’re not good at it — and only retain about 25% of what we hear.  WOW… only 25%… but what is it that you’re actually hearing?

What’s cool about this video, is that he is literally talking about listening better. I’ve never really admitted it before, but I’ve always had trouble with my hearing (maybe one reason why I don’t listen better, but just of course, “one” of the reasons 😉 ) so the thought of actually retraining the way that I hear things is fascinating.

If you heard things differently, would it make you a different kind of person? Manager? HR professional? Wife? Son? Neighbor? Friend?

Its a short video and totally engaging (you need to watch!) — but just in case you don’t get all the way through it, here are his 5 tips:

  1. Silence – have 3 minutes of silence a day
  2. The Mixer — how many channels of sound can you hear
  3. Savoring – enjoying mundane sounds (the “hidden choir”)
  4. Listening positions — move your listening position to make it appropriate to what you are listening to
  5. An acronym — RASA (which is Sanskrit for “juice” or “essence”—. Receive, Appreciate, Summarize, Ask

How good is your listening? Do you think you’re a good listener? Should listening be taught in schools like other skill sets?

I think this is huge.. and important to you as leaders, managers, HR pros… and as people in general. How many times have you felt that someone wasn’t *really* listening to you? Maybe people don’t really know how to do it….

Making the HR connection, yours




PS.. this Julian Treasure is pretty cool — check out some of his other stuff!

14 Things Successful People Do On Weekends – Forbes

14 things successful people do (or should be doing) on weekends:

via 14 Things Successful People Do On Weekends – Forbes.

Its SUNDAY– the weekend is almost to a close — how many of these things did you do (or plan to do) during your weekend?

Its important to connect with things outside of your regular workweek — believe me — I’m talking to myself just as much as I talk to you — I have trouble getting some great downtime in during the weekend — its one of my focuses for 2013.

Making the HR connect, yours, thegirlinhr

Are you listening — like seriously listening

Its so hard to believe that its the middle of  January of the new year — is it too early to ask “where has the time gone” 😉

This time of year, its very common to have meetings and session to plan out strategy or objectives for the current year. Everyone wants a seat at the table — but once you’re at the table you’ve got to have something important and profound to say or contribute. Right?

My short answer would be — “Right” — but think about HOW you’re contributing not just on WHAT you’re contributing. This means listening to understand not just to listening to rebuttal.

I’m sure you’ve heard that phrase or concept before — but if you have, ask yourself this: When you are “listening” to you immediately think about what you’re going to say or formulating your “big idea” or are you concentrating on what the current speaker is saying? When you are “listening” to you find ways to dismiss or interrupt the current speaker so that you can steal the floor and interject with your idea or contribution?

You’re probably in the first bucket (but if you’re in the second, stop it, that’s just rude 🙂 ) — try some of these tactics instead.

  1. Put your pen down and give the speaker your full attention instead of “taking notes” of what they are saying so that you can “agree” or “disagree.”
  2. If you need to take some notes, use key words to prompt you and then put your pen down – its a small gesture, but helps you take notes, but also shows others that you’re in the moment and listening. The speaker will notice and appreciate this but others will notice too and likely follow suit. It takes a bit of the competition out of the meeting.
  3. When its your turn to speak, offer a quick sentence or detail what you heard (and acknowledge others input/discussion) and THEN add your feedback or contribution. i.e. “Joe I like your idea to do X and Cindy you bring up a good point with Y. Have you considered XYZ”
  4. Have a meeting after the meeting — the only time to contribute and influence isn’t AT the table — it may also be AFTER the table. Follow up with participants after the meetings, send an email recap, or start a discussion in a shared discussion area. A follow up meeting doesn’t have to be formal – actually an informal meeting such as a hallway chat, impromptu desk meeting, or even meeting at a common area (coffee area, lunch room, water cooler) will work. You may question the timing on this one, but you are likely catching people at a point that they are processing the information. The last two suggestions offer ways to continue the conversation and offers an alternate way to contribute.
  5. Improve your skills at “impromptu” speaking. Did you just ask yourself, “What is ‘impromptu’ speaking?” I’ve been a Toastmaster for years now and one thing that we practice at each meeting is speaking on the spot through table topics or evaluating a speech. The setting might be a little different than a meeting, but you’re gaining skills to listen and to formulate concise relevant responses. Personally, I’ve realized that as my ‘impromptu’ speaking improves, the more confident I am in my contributions and the more open I am to LISTENING.

When you are actively listening you’ll start to notice gradually notice some changes in the how people approach and work with you. I may even go so far as to suggest people will wait to hear your feedback and look forward to what you have to say instead of you fighting for a spot to be heard.

I love discussion and feedback –so let me know what you think (agree, disagree, it depends…)  and please feel free to share your thoughts or ideas on how to be a better listener .. after all your employees and team members deserve it. How do we get better at it?

Once you listen, you can truly understand and take the right action.

How To Deal With Negative People & Gossip in a Positive Way | Young and Raw

I got this post from one of my fav healthy eating sites — which you may want to check out sometime — another one of my interest, even though its something that I really struggle with. Anyhoo — as HR Pros, managers, and leaders gossip and positivity are a big part of what is going on within our companies, teams, and employees so I wanted to share and get some thoughts.

Do you have a “negative Nelly” on your team (or in your life) — or are you ever negative?

Its the new year — and for many people performance review time — and its a great time to think about change and re-enforcing the right behaviors!

How To Deal With Negative People & Gossip in a Positive Way | Young and Raw.

But what do you mean? Define what success looks like!

As an HR person or even as a manager — do you ever find yourself asking this question, “What do you mean?” Nor in a negative or condescending way, but just because you don’t know. I’d actually make the case that more people should be asking that question.

I was wrapping up some work on an engagement survey recently. Most managers and HR people are looking at the results and trying to figure out what their employees need — better communication, better direction, more resources, better tools — sound familiar? And you know the next step — meeting debriefs with employees to understand the areas you did well and and the areas where there are opportunities to grow or make improvements. Finally comes the sessions to create action plans — to address the areas of opportunities and make sure that you keep the things that are going well. Standard and best practice stuff right? And likely something that you’ve participated in as an employee, manager, or an HR pro (and sometimes all three).

Management (and sometimes HR) start to work on the action plan only to find that they aren’t moving the needle the way they want — its a conundrum (don’t you love that word?) You’ve involved your employees in getting feedback, you’re actively working on deliverables against the action plan, but still not seeing the desired results in helping to improve engagement or employee satisfaction.

What we have is a disconnect!

I don’t want to change the process — I think that its all great stuff and things that we don’t want to lose or skip — however, I’d recommend that you add a step — ask “what does success look like?” or if you prefer ” what do you mean?” If you get feedback that your people need more tools and resources — ask “what does that mean?” — is that people, computers, technology, office supplies?  Then ask “what does success look like” — if you need 10 new people resources is success getting 1, 5, or all 10 (and in what time frame).  Your employees ask for better communication — you ask “what do you mean?” Ask them to elaborate. Is that more email, less email, all hands, team meetings, status reports, cross functional team updates? — and then what does successful communication look like. Make your action plan align to what success looks like.

It might be tempting to jump into action planning and start delivering — but take some time to ask clarifying questions and set some realistic expectations in order to avoid one of a disconnect between you, your teams, and your employees. Give it a try and tell us about it! You don’t have to wait for a survey 🙂 — these questions work with all kinds of situations — and in your personal life too.

Making the HR Connection, yours truly,