Thinking Instead of Listening:
- We can speak at 150 words / minute
- We can think at 450 – 600 words / minute
- Fast thoughts can create a distracting back chatter that makes listening challenging
- Covey – We don’t listen to understanding; we listen to reply.
7 Barriers to Listening:
- Rehearsing a response:
- mentally practicing to say your part
- False reassurances:
- nod head like you’re listening, but you’re really looking for an opening to speak
- offer false cliches to appear like you’re paying attention
- Misdirected quotes:
- ask questions that divert person from what they were saying before understanding it
- Not focusing:
- paying attention to details outside the conversation
- paying attention to inside thoughts rather than conversation
- Selective listening:
- catch a few words and pretend to listen
Good Listening Skills: For more tips for building listening skills, go here.
- Don’t talk
- Nod head occasionally
- Softly look at person without staring
- Move away or look away from distractions
- Open body posture – don’t cross arms, don’t look at watch
- Give brief verbal acknowledgements – “Really”, “Wow”, “Interesting”, …
- Pace responses – if you give too may they’ll think you’re getting impatient or bored
- Ask clarifying questions
- Listening – see above
- Make deposits into emotional bank account:
- deposit actions include: asking for ideas, listening, acknowledging their ideas, providing resources, etc
- withdrawals include: asking for favors, negative feedback, etc.
- Find things shared in common besides work
- Be aware of attending behavior (how you look and act while you listen)
- if your attending behavior includes off-putting stuff like frowning – make an effort to fix it
- Match and mirror their communication style, learning style, or problem solving approaches
- Design lessons and related resources that teach students how to improve their listening and rapport-building skills.
Early Implementation Steps
- Early on in the year and in projects, facilitate workshops and activities that build students’ listening skills and the rapport they feel for each other.
- While scaffolding these skills – offer modeling, practice opportunities, and encouraging feedback.
- Have students reflect on how practicing these skills is affecting their team’s morale, relationships, and communication.
Advanced Implementation Steps
- Periodically have students deliberately practice listening and practice building rapport.
- Have students reflect on what makes these practices challenging and what they can improve in order to make their efforts feel and be perceived as more sincere
- Collaboration articles