Featured Article:

Attentive Listening

Listening well is hard work. It’s also rare, which makes giving your full attention one of the best gifts you can give another. It’s practical, too. The person with the most information is usually the one in control of the situation, and that’s often enough of an incentive to motivate you.

Set a goal for your listening—and fight off distractions. When you do so, you’ll be able to discern what’s relevant in the conversation and ultimately how to follow up appropriately. At work, we’re used to constant interruptions, whether it’s email, texts, or drop-ins. This works against you when you’re trying to concentrate and think clearly. As much as possible, limit distractions in your environment. Turn off your computer monitor and mute the sound of incoming messages and emails. If your mind wanders, immediately refocus as soon as you realize you’re drifting away.

Be alert to nonverbal cues—and make sure yours communicate accurately. Although it is critical to listen to what your counterpart says, much of what they’re communicating comes through their gestures, facial expressions, and tone of voice. Do their nonverbal cues match what they’re saying or is there a discrepancy that makes you doubt their words? Do they seem nervous and anxious to finish the conversation even though they sound confident?

Make sure you’re looking the speaker in the eye. Research shows that in Western culture, looking someone in the eye will lead others to perceive you as trustworthy, honest, and credible. Focus your attention and really think about what you’re learning through the verbal and nonverbal information you’re getting.

Let your counterpart tell her story first—and don’t interrupt. Understanding the other person’s assumptions, objective, and needs sets the stage for a productive interaction. As tempting as it may be, resist the urge to interrupt. Beyond being rude, it may prevent the speaker from revealing valuable information. Even if what you hear is inaccurate, let the other person finish. When someone disagrees with you or shares something surprising, you’ll often gain valuable insights.

It’s impossible to listen and speak at the same time. If you’re speaking, you are not getting information—and getting information is the whole point of listening. If you have to speak, ask questions to get specific, useful information to uncover the other person’s wants and needs.

It’s amazing there aren’t more miscommunications during conversations; most people are so busy preparing their next thought that they don’t often hear everything being said by the other person. When you’re in conversation, really focus on the other person, stay in the moment, and seek to understand them. Confirm what you’ve heard and watch the reaction of the other person. It’s so rare to be fully heard that your partner will undoubtedly be surprised that you actually listened.

React to the message, not the person. If your counterpart says or does something you don’t understand, ask yourself, would you do the same thing if you were in his shoes? If you find it necessary to react negatively to a someone’s words or actions, make sure you attack the message, not the person. Emotions of any kind, especially anger, can hinder your ability to listen effectively. When you become angry, you turn control over to your the other person. Anger interferes with the problem-solving process and doesn’t put you in the frame of mind to make the best decisions.

Do not trust your memory. After your conversation is over, write it down—especially if it’s a negotiation. You’d be amazed at how much conflicting information can come up later. The ability to refresh your counterpart’s memory with facts and figures shared in an earlier session will earn you a tremendous amount of credibility and power. Writing things down may take a few minutes, but the results are well worth the time.

You can’t be everywhere and know everything. But if you listen wisely you can glean enough information to make it appear that you’ve done both.

You are welcome to reprint this article as long as you include the following in its entirety: Reprinted from "Our Corporate Life®," a biweekly ezine featuring practical tips and tools for navigating the corporate world. © MMXVIII Our Corporate Life LLC All Rights Reserved. Subscribe at www.ourcorporatelife.com/subscribe

Amanda Mitchell is an executive coach and strategist specializing in helping senior executives deal with disruptive drama within their teams. An advertising agency veteran, she experienced first-hand the business implications of corporate drama both with her Fortune 500 clients and within the Manhattan ad agency she led. She founded Our Corporate Life (www.ourcorporatelife.com) to help executives solve the problems no one wants to deal with. She has been published in Bloomberg Businessweek, and quoted in Fast Company, CNBC.com, and Monster.com. She lives in New Jersey with her family.

Corporate Driver: Communication

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Ordering FAQs

You’ve got questions – we’ve got answers!

What types of payment do you accept?

We accept Visa, MasterCard, American Express® and Discover credit cards. Our payment processing protocol complies with Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS) to ensure that all credit card information is processed, stored and transmitted in a secure environment. If you prefer to pay by check or wire transfer please contact us.

What is your refund/return policy?

We stand behind our work. We know our products have the potential for transforming your career and life just as long as you do the work.

If you decide at anytime within the first month that your CD or DVD program is not for you, simply return your selection(s) for an exchange or refund equal to the price of the product(s). Please note our MP3 programs are non-refundable.

I can’t login to the Forum… or remember my password or username! What should I do?

Don’t Panic! Click here to reset your password. If you can’t remember your user name, you can search by email address. If all else fails, contact us and our techno-genius will help you.

Why won’t my CD play?

Check and see if the disc is labeled “data.” If so, put the CD in your computer. You should get an option to “open folder to view files” — if not double click on your CD drive to open the CD. You will find both audio and pdf files on the disc. Double click the audio file and your default audio player will open, import, and start playing the file.

I didn’t receive my download link – what gives?

We know how frustrating it can be when you order an instant download and it’s not available instantly! Make sure clientcare@ourcorporatelife.com has been added to your safe–sender/whitelist and check your spam/junk folder. If you still can’t find it, please contact us and we’ll respond as soon as humanly possible!

Do you offer group or volume discounts for seminars, live events, and bulk purchases?

We customize our pricing based on a number of different variables. Once we understand the scale and scope of your request we would be happy to provide an estimate. Please contact us to discuss your needs in more detail.


Taking Control of Your Career® Bootcamp Content Overview

Our Bootcamp is designed to get you back to feeling like yourself fast. To avoid overwhelm, we cover critical topics sequentially so you can make small changes quickly and experience immediate results.

1. New Beginnings

We start by creating a clear picture of your desired outcome and showing how feeling stuck can benefit you. You’ll also learn how to increase your physical and mental energy and a quick (less than 5 minutes!), easy way to improve your mood.

2. Setting Yourself Up For Success

It’s easier to succeed when your environment completely supports you. You’ll learn how to easily analyze yours and bring it into alignment. We’ll also cover techniques for viewing your work situation in a neutral, productive way–allowing you to move within it effortlessly.

3. Values & Standards

Values impact your behaviors, decisions, relationships and direction in life. Yet your values are often not aligned with your workplace. Standards are what we honor because we believe they will lead us to our goals. Logically you’d think high standards would result in a superior result but just the opposite often occurs. In this session we’ll cover how to maintain your standards when they’re not shared and how to stay true to yourself without making it an issue for others.

4. How Your Best Intentions Work Against You

If you’re like most achievers, you welcome and thrive on responsibility. Sometimes, however, your life can feel like one long “to do” list leaving little time to figure out what is working – or not – in your life. We’ll cover how to retrain your teammates, how to redefine your role and the concept of “responsibility without authority” – having one without the other makes success impossible.

5. Core Beliefs

Understanding how personal beliefs drive behavior is critical to freeing you from feeling trapped. This is a deeply personal and important aspect necessary to move into action. You’ll learn how to uncover the core belief that is out of alignment and the 5 step process you can use to replace it.

6. Who is in Control of Your Life?

Control is like catnip to high achievers – we all want it. But surprisingly few exercise control in the one area where they actually have it. This cycle of relentlessly trying to get control over an uncontrollable situation is exhausting and self–defeating. Resetting expectations so you can focus on fulfilling activities will provide the energy you need to regain your perspective and take action.

7. Setting Boundaries

If you’re surrounded by those who constantly violate your boundaries it will create conflict, drama and drain your energy. When you set and maintain appropriate boundaries you will experience an almost immediate reduction of stress. We will review the 5–step boundary setting process; discuss how to hold the line without alienating others or compromising your standards, and the implications of not being able to say “no”.

8. The Path Forward

Your work each session will have helped you uncover your personal traps and provided strategies for overcoming them. We’ll do a quick review and focus on how to use your strategic plan so you’ll never get in this situation again. We’ll also review how to appropriately take responsibility, how to manage workplace expectations and perceptions and the best habits for self–management when “overwhelm” strikes again – as it inevitably will.