Say What?

Listening, really listening, is harder than reacting.  Reacting comes naturally because, um, it’s a reaction.  Your team needs you to listen, so here’s some tips on how to do that.

Ditch the distractions – yes, I mean you need to turn away from the computer and hide the cell phone but also try not planning your rebuttal.  Use your ninja-like focus to tune into the words the other person is saying.

Repeat after me…  Well, after them.  Repeat back to them what they told you.  The art of paraphrasing forces you to listen so you get it right.

Ask a question about what they just told you.  Asking gives you more information and gives the listener the feeling that you care.  

Oh ya, and watch your tone on that one. “What were you thinking?“ can sound inquisitive or patronizing.  Choose the former.