Archive for March, 2007

Tip #3: Listen more than you speak

Posted on March 17, 2007. Filed under: Blog--All categories, Management development |

In Tip #2, we talked about listening actively when others speak to us. Listening actively means resisting the urge to begin formulating our responses while the other person is talking. It means engaging completely with what is being said rather than letting our mind drift off onto other topics. Tip #3–listening more than we speak–is the next step in the process:

If we want to build relationship with people, then we must listen to what they have to say. They are much more interested in having an opportunity to speak than they are in hearing us talk. When we give them an opportunity to talk about themselves and what interests them, they think we are amazing conversationalists!

It’s true. Letting others talk about themselves and what interests them helps them improve their perception of us. We are each experts on ourselves. We each believe we have something of value to offer others. And we like opportunities to give what we believe to be our value to others. That being the case, we welcome those often rare opportunities when others express an interest in us and what we have to say.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: people do business with people they like. Regardless of where you are in the hierarchy at work, you will benefit from building strong relationships with the people around you. When the people you work with perceive you as someone who cares about other people and their interests, your relationships will be stronger.

What is the benefit of stronger relationships? Strong relationships build the groundwork for good working relationships. Consider this scenario: you have two coworkers–Stan and Dan. You’ve worked with both Stan and Dan for the last two years. Stan has stopped by your desk periodically and asked about your family, your pets, and your vacations. He’s taken an interest in you personally while at the same time expressing thanks for the help you’ve given him on projects. Your typical interaction with Dan, on the other hand, has been his asking when your part of the project will be done. He has never even said “good morning.” In fact, his main way of communicating with you is through email–even though he sits just 20 feet away.

Today, both Stan and Dan asked for your help on projects. With deadlines and priorities being equal, whose project will you say “yes” to? Most likely it will be Stan. Why? Because he’s taken the time to build a relationship with you.

If you want your coworkers to willingly work with you, then taking the time to get to know them–like Stan did with you–helps pave the way for getting things done. Learn from Stan: he asked you about things that interest you. He took the time to listen to your responses and to express appreciation for your work. He built a relationship with you that Dan ignored. Stan is reaping the benefit of his investment in that relationship.

So how do you go about building that relationship? By taking the time to find out about what matters to those you work with. What matters may be their families, their pets, their vacations. What matters may be the work they do and the projects they are involved in. Take the time to ask some questions–and really listen to the answers. Resist the urge to tell your own stories in response to theirs. Let the light shine on them for a while rather than diverting it to yourself (I hope you know what I mean here: you know the person who asks you a question about your vacation … and when you start to tell them, they switch the conversation to a story about their own vacation? Yea, don’t be that person).

By listening more than you speak and letting others talk about their favorite subjects–themselves and what’s interesting to them, you’ll be building relationships that will later prove to be beneficial in your professional and personal life. Now, get out there and get to know someone!

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Your Values are Showing #2

Posted on March 3, 2007. Filed under: Blog--All categories, Staff selection |

Thanks again to my wonderful Soroptimist friends for participating in the Values program on Thursday. Liz sent me an email with this comment:

Though not a “utilitarian,” I recognize good value. I’d say I got my money’s worth. A no-brainer for a “theoretical.” Your session on values was excellent and I can’t imagine how anyone would not profit from the experience. As the quote on the individual report states: “He who knows himself is wise.”

Michelle said this:

The most valuable part was finding out what my values were and having a copy of the report to refer to. It will help me understand why I do things the way I do and why others do things the way they do–in the workplace and at home.

Understanding ourselves is the first step in understanding others. Knowing what makes people tick and others tock is critical to knowing how to communicate with them effectively. Knowing our own values helps us determine how to speak in a language the individual can understand–a time-saving strategy for anyone who needs to communicate!

Thanks again to a great group for yet another successful Values program!

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