What’s Your Listening Score?

mimi-thian-lp1AKIUV3yo-unsplashListening is a powerful communication skill that affects your leadership influence and relationships. When you listen well, people notice. Why? Because most people don’t practice good listening. Instead, they typically focus on being heard.

Ribbers and Waringa (2015) define seven levels of listening which are:

  1. Continually interrupts people, impatient when listening, wants to hear him- or herself talk, doesn’t get to the point easily
  2. Restrains him- or herself enough to listen but with visible signs of impatience, prefers to talk about own experiences
  3. Listens to others, polite and observes standard conversational etiquette, reactive conversational partner, doesn’t actively draw out others to talk
  4. Lets others talk, asks for clarifications, prefers to keep conversations about business
  5. Always takes the time to willingly listen, comes across as interested in the other person, gives appropriate feedback
  6. Gets people talking, exchanges information, listens well to others while giving natural responses, asks questions to get to the heart of the subject
  7. Expresses sensitivity to the needs of others, makes time for people, asks questions to clarify, gives feedback, shows involvement

We can’t always listen at a level seven, and frankly, not all conversations require a seven. However, we should be holistically aware of where we tend to operate and decide whether we need to focus on improving our listening skill. These listening definitions can also help us identify which conversations require which level of listening in order to improve the outcome for both speaker and listener. With a defined scale as reference, it’s easier to target and measure improvement.

Reference

Ribbers, A., & Waringa, A. (2015). E-Coaching: Theory and Practice for a New Online Approach to Coaching. New York, NY: Routledge.


About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach with an extensive background in leadership and business consulting. She administers DISC® and Myers-Briggs/MBTI® testing, designs and facilitates workshops, and coaches both individuals and teams. She has a passion to help people be the best versions of themselves. You can learn more about Sandra or engage her as your coach by reaching out to her at coach.sandra.dillon@gmail.com or visiting her website at www.shinecrossings.com

Where Are Your Best Conversations?

ConversationsYou’ve likely heard the real estate advice that the three most important factors in deciding which home to buy are location, location, and location. In Bob Goff’s book Everybody Always he discusses the impact that location can have on the quality of our conversations with people. He asserts that “location drives content, [and] if you have the right conversation at the right place, you just had the right conversation” (Goff, 2018, p. 182).

Reflecting on this concept, perhaps I should emphasize more the location where I coach, do ministry, and have work-related conversations. Perhaps I should be as choosy in where I have a conversation as I am on what we plan to discuss. Location can calm or excite, stimulate creativity, or increase nervousness. Next time you plan a meeting or conversation, select a location that supports what you want to achieve. If you’re limited on venues, how else could you change the environment to make it more conducive to the conversation?

I know a salesman who loves to bring a variety of ice creams to his customer meetings held in formal conference rooms when he wants to break the ice and have fun. He stores a freezer bag in his trunk and stops at the local grocery store to pick up Nutty Buddies, Klondike bars, and Good Humor variety packs. He delights when his customers struggle on what colorful ice cream goodie they want and reminisce about the last time they had a Strawberry Shortcake on a stick as they lick their ice cream. You get the picture. He has everyone sharing stories and smiling—creating connection in the room—countering the formalness of the location.

Bob Goff has a lot of creative conversations, so where do you think he holds office hours? Read the book and find out.

Reference

Goff, B. (2018). Everybody Always: Becoming Love in a World Full of Setbacks and Difficult People. Nashville, TN: Nelson Books.


About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach with an extensive background in leadership, premarital/marriage, and financial coaching. She coaches individuals and couples as well as designs and facilitates workshops. She has a passion to help people be the best versions of themselves.  You can learn more about Sandra by visiting her website at www.shinecrossingsministry.com.

Have You Taken a Conversation Pause Today?

Extroverts have a tendency to interrupt people with their own ideas, opinions, and suggestions, before others have had the chance to finish speaking their thoughts. Extroverts honor the conversation and build stronger relationships, when they give others the space to fully express their message. When people feel they have been fully heard, they are more inclined to respectfully listen in return. Challenge yourself today to be more conscientious of how often you want to or do interrupt others, before they have finished expressing themselves. As an extrovert, I find it is harder than I thought!

Conversation pause


About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach, consultant, and mentor with an extensive background in business development, leadership, and ministry which provides her with the experience, relational skills, and proven processes to move individuals, couples, and leaders to higher levels of personal awareness, effectiveness, and goal achievement.  She coaches in a variety of areas including life purpose and plans, business, finances, and premarital/marriage.  

11 Things Emotionally Intelligent People Say at Work

words out of mouthDr. Travis Bradberry published the article The 11 Things Smart People Won’t Say (2015), where he listed and described why smart people refrain from using certain phrases in the workplace, because these words diminish others’ perception of them. Unfortunately, many employees may not be aware of the negative impact of these sentences or whether they are using them in conversation around the office. For those who may have overlooked this article, I list those words that can undermine the most knowledgeable, talented, and productive employees who use them.

  • It’s not fair.
  • This is the way it’s always been done.
  • No problem.
  • I think …/This may be a silly idea …/I’m going to ask a stupid question.
  • This will only take a minute.
  • I’ll try.
  • He’s lazy/incompetent/a jerk.
  • That’s not in my job description.
  • It’s not my fault.
  • I can’t.
  • I hate this job.

words out of mouth 2Some of these phrases are obvious in their abrasiveness; whereas, others are subtle. A response of “No problem,” as opposed to a kindly “You’re welcome,” or “My pleasure,” commonly heard from a Chick-Fil-A associate, can be more of an annoyance than a negative message. In my opinion, this list of “do-nots” are not what smart people practice but what emotionally intelligent people embrace, as I know several Mensa candidates with low emotional intelligence who continually choose from this list. Emotionally steady and astute employees carefully choose their words. Dr. Bradberry’s article begs the question, “What are the 11 things emotionally intellegient employees say at work?” What words do they use that promote creative thinking, problem-solving, accountability, and team-building?

Below would be my suggested words to frame conversation that builds a positive perception of your attitude and behaviors and empowers the organization.

  • How could we have changed the outcome?
  • What new way can we try?
  • You’re welcome!
  • Based on…observation, data, past experiences…I found…
  • When can I get [insert number] uninterrupted minutes of your time?
  • I will.
  • How can we make him/her more successful?
  • What can I do to help?
  • I take responsibility for…
  • I can.
  • What I like about my job is…

Where do your word choices land on the continuum of powerfully engaging to poorly enacted? Many factors, including stress and cultural influence, dictated where we are on this continuum in any moment. When stress is high, the filter between thoughts and words is usually thin. Stress does not absolve us of the responsibility to choose words wisely, and awareness of the powerful effect of certain words is the first step towards better choices that will show your personal best.

Reference

Bradberry, T. (2015). Eleven things smart people won’t say.  Retrieved from https://www.inc.com/travis-bradberry/11-things-smart-people-won-t-say.html


HE21118Davis_07-medAbout the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach, consultant, and mentor with an extensive background in business development, leadership, and ministry which provides her with the experience, relational skills, and proven processes to move individuals, couples, and leaders to higher levels of personal awareness, effectiveness, and goal achievement.  She coaches in a variety of areas including life purpose and plans, business, finances, and premarital/marriage.