Have A Conversation: And Don’t Forget To Listen! By Toni Bahnsen

“Good conversation is at the heart of networking, meetings, interviews, negotiations and raising your profile. It can ease your way in work, enabling you to build alliances, create strong relationships with staff, bosses and clients, succeed at interviews, motivate and inspire.”

Publisher’s Summary ©2014 Judy Apps (P)2014 Audible Studios, The Art of Conversation

 Having a conversation is all about listening . . . it truly is.

Leave the listening piece out of a conversation and you may find yourself with a rather fruitless endeavor tinged with lots of frustrations.

We’ve all been there . . .

You receive an inquiry email from a customer or colleague. You respond with what you think is the perfect answer and, uh oh, they respond with another question.  And your emails go back and forth, each of you becoming more and more frustrated.

Or, you’ve set up the perfect online training for colleagues. You launch the training and provide a link for feedback in a survey.  And then the survey comments begin, “What do you mean by . . .”, or “This doesn’t make sense, am I missing something?”, or “How do I get to the other screen?”, or “What do I click on?”  And once again, you are corresponding back and forth digitally wondering why in the world the participants don’t understand the training.

Or, you have an employee who just doesn’t seem to be able to take directions. You don’t know how many emails you’ve sent to them about a project, but it just isn’t getting done the way you would like to see it done.  You wonder if they are even reading the emails you’ve sent.

Don’t get me wrong, technology and the digital age are amazing.  They save us time and resources, increase productivity, push the efficiency needle way up, and the list just goes on and on.  And many times technology is all you need, which is a big bonus!

But sometimes technology is not enough. There are times with digital communication when everyone is frustrated; people are afraid of what they perceive to be the unknown; no one can gauge the tone of the conversation; they just can’t seem to ask the right question or get the right answer; they feel like they don’t have all the information they need; no one is on the same page.

So how can you get everyone on the same page?  How can you quell the fear?  How can you dispel the misperceptions?  How can you achieve productive communication?  How can you gauge the frame of mind of participants?

Have a conversation.

In person, on the phone, Zoom, Skype, whatever it takes, just have a conversation.

And, don’t forget to listen! Actively listen to the other person.  You would be surprised what listening can do for a conversation!

A conversation with active listening allows all parties a chance to be heard and understood, information to be gained, light bulbs to be turned on, false perceptions to be removed, a chance to find the correct page to be on, team cohesiveness to increase, and so much more!

So, the next time you feel as though you’ve hit a brick wall in your digital communication . . .

Just have a conversation.

And don’t forget to listen!

Four Key Elements of Emotional Intelligence

  1. Self- Awareness: Be aware of your emotions; your team or colleagues may not clue you into the need to do this.
  2. Social Awareness: Focus more on the other person than yourself. Listen to the person with which you are speaking and do not think about what you will say next; really listen. Ask team members periodically how they are feeling about a specific project, task, etc. Just acknowledging someone’s stress may make him or her feel better.
  3. Self-Management: Set narrow and measurable goals, such as giving your undivided attention to the person who walks into your office. Before reacting, stop and take a deep breath and think about what is really going on with both you and the other person.
  4. Relationship Management: Interact with people, encourage teamwork, manage conflict when necessary and be positive.

HR Magazine, March 2018, “Are You an Emotional Genius?” by Dori Meinert

Did you Know!?

43% of drivers use a phone for work while driving! This raises potential liability for employers in the event of an accident.  Source: Travelers Insurance

HR Magazine, February 2018 page 10