Listening skills: what kind of a listener are you?
I'm passing on this article, for those of us who need to update our listening skills.
(From buzzle.com, reproduced with permission)
Did you know that good listeners are more successful than poor listeners? One of the seven habits of highly effective people according to Steven Covey is to "seek first to understand, then be understood." The key to understanding is effective listening.
Do you know how to really listen? One study of Fortune 500 companies found that poor listening could lead to ineffective performance and low productivity.
In one study, it was found that good listeners were promoted more often than poor listeners. In addition, who hasn�t heard about the impact of poor listening skills on divorce rates and failed negotiations.
In this article, we will identify some of the habits of poor listeners and some tips on how to become better and improved listeners.
The "wanderer": This poor listener is unfocused and easily distracted. His eyes and mind wander around the room and around the world. The good listener concentrates on what is being said and looks at the speaker attentively.
The "just-the-facts" listener": This poor listener picks up on the facts and trivia, while remaining completely clueless as to what the facts mean or what the speaker is trying to say. The good listener listens for the themes and patterns and listens for understanding.
The "complainer": This poor listener complains that the speaker or the topic is boring. He sits back and says secretly, "I dare you to tell me something interesting!" He may listen for grammatical errors and critique the presentation skills, or the personal characteristics of the speaker, while ignoring the content. The good listener summarizes, asks for clarification, and relates the topic to his personal experience.
The "faker": This poor listener pretends to pay attention, may even smile and nod, and looks attentively at the speaker, while his mind is vacationing thousands of miles away. The good listener 'speaks' to the speaker with his verbal and nonverbal messages. The good listener sends accurate signals in order to help the speaker communicate more effectively.
The "trigger-listener": This poor listener listens for the words that "trigger" his emotional hot buttons and frequently challenges the speaker to a debate. The good listener suspends judgment and does not react to words. He waits to speak until the speaker is finished with the intended message.
The "lite-listener": This poor listener wants it light and entertaining. He tunes out difficult and technical material. The good listener asks what�s in it for me, how can I benefit from this information, and sees the difficult material as an intellectual challenge.
The "eager-to-impress" listener: This poor listener is too busy or too nervous thinking about what he is going to say he forgets to listen to the speaker. This commonly happens in job interviews. The poor listener is mentally rehearsing what he is going to say to impress the interviewer that he loses track of the conversation. The good listener listens to the verbal and nonverbal messages of the speaker. He lets the other person talk, paraphrases, encourages and responds to the speaker�s messages.
One easy way to remember when listening to someone is using the acronym HEAR.
HEAR stands for helpful, empathic, attentive, and responsive listener.
H stands for being helpful to the speaker so he or she would be able to communicate more effectively.
E is for empathy. Empathy is genuinely understanding and caring for the other person.
A is for attentiveness. Attentiveness is demonstrating your understanding of the other person.
R is for responsiveness. Responsiveness means not only showing your understanding, but also that you are actively responding, verbally and nonverbally, to the person and to the topic.
According to Covey, effective listening is empathic listening. Empathic listening is genuinely seeking to understand the other person. It requires effort on the listener. There are four stages of empathic listening.
The first is mimicking or mirroring the content, as in repeating what the speaker says.
"Did I hear you say _ _ _ _ _ _ _ ?
The second is rephrasing the content, as when one says, "You mean that he actually _____ (rephrasing the story)?"
The third stage is reflecting the feeling. "You seem to be (upset, lonely, etc)."
And the fourth stage is reflecting the feeling and the content. "You feel ______ , because ___________."
So the next time you are listening to someone, and your mind and eyes start to wonder, remember HEAR. Don�t just sit there! Listen! It could save your job, and your marriage.
Not specifically for nurses, but nursing skills are paramount in our profession. Cheers!