Suggestions for effective listening:
- I’ve said it before and I will say it again: LISTEN. Listen quietly to what the speaker says without interrupting. Listen obviously to what the speaker is saying and respond with quiet “verbal attends” such as “uh huh,” “um,” “yes,” and “I understand” to indicate that you understand what is being said.
- Maintain an adequate distance from the speaker. Adequate personal space is about an arm’s distance length from the other person. Standing too close to the speaker may make him/her feel uncomfortable. Standing too far from the speaker may give the impression that you are not engaged in the conversation or looking to “get away.”
- Avoid touching the speaker. While a handshake is usually acceptable, other physical contact with a speaker you are not familiar may make him/her feel uncomfortable.
- Stand up straight (shoulders back) and maintain good body posture during the conversation will convey confidence and intelligence. Leaning forward toward the speaker (just slightly) will convey interest in the message.
- Control facial expressions. Your face communicates a wide variety of non-verbal cues related to your attitude and emotions. For example, raising your eyebrows may give the impression that you are surprised. Pursing your lips may convey anger, disagreement, or confusion.
- Control your gestures. Like facial expressions, your gestures communicate a wide variety of non-verbal cues.
- Closed gestures such as clenched fists may indicate aggression or anger. Crossing your arms conveys a defensive or suspicious demeanor.
- Open gestures like keeping your hands to your side or crossed behind you portrays an openness or relaxed demeanor.
- Maintain eye contact but do not stare to show that you are listening and interested in the message. Eye contact signifies trust, respect, and interest.
- Avoid strong perfumes, colognes, and other odors that might distract or overwhelm the other person from their interaction with you.
- Maintain your overall appearance. What you wear to work depends on the type of job that you hold. Whatever you wear, make sure that it conveys your competence and respect for your position within the company.
Combining effective communication techniques with networking will help you to connect with people. Poor communication can result in misunderstandings with others.
It should be obvious by now that the abilities and skills related to good listening are:
- Attention to communication to ensure that information is passed on to others who should be kept informed.
- Ability to express oneself clearly in oral conversations and interactions with others.
- Ability to express oneself in written communications.
- Noticing, interpreting, and anticipating others’ concerns and feelings, and to communicate this interpersonal awareness empathetically to others (part of one’s emotional intelligence or emotion quotient).
- Influencing others by gaining their support for your ideas, proposals, projects, and solutions.
- Building collaborative relationships to develop, maintain, and strengthen partnerships with others inside or outside the organization who can provide information, assistance, and support.
- Demonstrating concern for customer orientation including satisfying one’s external and/or internal customers.
NETWORKING: At its core, networking it not about job search. Networking is about communication and connecting with people who can help each other with various events or issues. Effective communication techniques are needed so that you can successfully express your value and provide support in whatever way you can for the other person’s benefit.
There is a three-step approach to growing your network:
- Acquiring contacts. Contacts can be passive (meeting people at the gym or kid’s ballgame) or active (speaking to people at a networking event or professional group meeting).
- Building relationships using seasonal (speaking with a friend of a friend that you see at a Super Bowl party, July 4th cookout, etc.) or lifetime (in-laws) contacts.
- Creating opportunities online (LinkedIn, FaceBook or Twitter) or in-person (school group, coffee shop, or kid’s school fair or concert).
Now, get to it . . .
This Blog/Web Site is made available by me, an attorney licensed to practice law in CT. I am not a recruiter, hiring manager, or career agent. Nor am I an expert in any of the areas or issues related to job search activities. I am merely sharing my job search experiences with you. This Blog/Web Site is designed to provide accurate information on the subjects covered but should not be considered professional or legal advice.