Updated: Mar 9, 2021
By Robert Bluett, Chairman and Founder of People Plus
Read This First: Sharing Ten Minute Ideas Connections: This is not what is generally accepted as a book, it is a sequence of ideas which are critical to the future development of the people aspect in business. These are put forward on the basic understanding that everything can be improved upon, and will be so far into the future. As the environment changes in the market, so does the need within the organisation to address these issues, which present themselves at that time in the market – continuous development. These writings are in hard and soft copy, and refer to a website where there is on-going discussion over the application and validity of these ideas. The sections (Chapters?) are not necessarily in a sequential order, you can start anywhere in the book. This is how each section is structured: The idea is captured in the heading, why the situation exists. (1 minute to read this) The main points follow to explain how the situation developed. (2 minutes to read) Then what can be done about it. (Maximum 5 minutes to get this) The above three points give an introduction to the ideas, and if this is of interest, then you can read further or go to the website for more information.
Overview: (1 minute)
Active Listening has different levels of attention leading to different expected outputs / results:
Listening to show support: Listening to support, means listening and demonstrating a level of attention which indicates to the speaker that you are engaged with what they are saying. In most instances this does not require more than patiently listening.
Listening to understand: Listening to understand what the other person is saying, requires you to internalize what the person is saying within your own frame of reference, so as to confirm your understanding at the end of the conversation.
Listening so as to perform: Listening so as to perform requires that you gain an understanding of what the person is saying, because you are expecting to do something. This requires “mutual agreement” on the expected outputs.
Gaining a “deeper understanding”: (2 minutes)
In Active Listening you will need to listen at any one of the all three levels according to the requirements of situation. Let’s explore a few of these to gain a deeper understanding how to identify the intention of the speaker. What the person says will define at what level you need to focus your attention.
With Listening to show support the speaker will indicate that they would like to share something with you.
With listening to understand the speaker usually asks a question about your understanding of the situation.
With listening to perform the speaker asks if you could help with something.
Active Listening is critical in all communication and especially in Assertive Communication.
Gaining a ‘shared understanding’: (5 minutes)
Most arguments occur because there is a difference of opinion resulting from either one or both people not actively listening to the other person and therefore there is a difference of outlook, and this will naturally bring about conflict of opinion, usually leading to an argument.
In assertive communication it is more constructive to have a discussion where both people share their ideas and add value to the other person by possibly adding to the conversation with facts that were not known to the other.
Assertive Communication gives attention to creating a shared understanding so that at the outset of the conversation each person’s gets an idea of what the other person’s viewpoint is. Another way of saying this is they are both more or less on the same page as to what is the status of the present situation.
If they do not have a shared understanding on the present situation, then, before going any further it is important to agree on the key points before moving on as to what they should do about it.
“I hear you” is not confirmation that they are actually listening to you.
Being able to give someone your full attention does require for there to be an environment that is conducive to being able to listen. This means there are a minimum amount of distractions, such as loud noise, text messages, phone calls etc.
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