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Listening and Questioning: A Powerful Tool for Managers

Learn to Listen Well

Active listening is a communication technique that combines hearing with understanding and requires a connection between the speaker and the listener. Your goal as an effective listener is to understand the speaker’s experience and point of view entirely.

It is not just about using the ears to hear. Effective listening involves using other senses such as the eyes to observe body language and capture underlying, unspoken messages. Effective listening is a skill in which multiple senses are used to grasp messages. One way to implement active listening is to restate or paraphrase what you have heard in your own words to confirm the understanding of both parties.

Listening is about listening to the tone, speed, and volume of the voice and is best learned through practice and continual improvement. Too often, we listen with the intent to formulate our answer rather than listen with the intent to understand. This behavior takes attention away from understanding what the speaker is saying, while the listener should actually be engaged in active and effective listening.

Here are two tips to help you listen actively and effectively.
  • First, allow the speaker to finish speaking before you comment and answer. Continue to focus on nonverbal messages.
  • Second, as I’ve mentioned, take a moment when possible to tell the speaker what you have heard to make sure you understand.
Asking questions is powerful.

Questions provide greater understanding and participation. Most of us like working with other people who ask for our input and really listen to our answers. Here are a few pointers on asking appropriate questions. Ask well-thought-out questions that have enough but not too much detail to result in receiving sought-out information. Questions that use the who, what, where, and how techniques often yield better results. Be sure that you’re not asking questions you already have the answers to. Too many questions put you in a one-down position. And finally, use open-ended questions as a helpful technique to get you the answers you seek.

Trignano Consulting works with clients looking to improve their management skills.  A mentor with over 23 years of experience in a corporate environment, Trignano offers client support in managing productivity, retention and culture. Linda Trignano’s firm is focused on helping companies more effectively handle their people related needs by working collaboratively with clients to find solutions that work for everyone. She is able to quickly and cost effectively implement change that improves productivity. You can reach her at 552-800-1127