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Extract value from every encounter

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in Leaders & Managers,People Management

Listening to your employees involves more than running staff meetings and taking a few questions at the end.

To maximize each encounter at work:

Resist distractions. Look at the speaker and keep your hands free. Don’t fiddle with your phone or glance at your computer screen while someone’s talking to you.

Use your face to signal your understanding. Nod, smile or strike a sympathetic expression as appropriate. When people see that you’re taking in what they’re saying, they’re more apt to trust you.

Wait to judge. If you’re busy, it’s tempting to rush to judge what you hear. But that can lead to misunderstandings or worse. Instead, listen for accuracy. Confirm that you’ve captured the speaker’s point before you attempt to evaluate its merits. Before you give feedback, pause and let the speaker elaborate.

Ask for more. True listeners are content to keep quiet. They don’t pounce on the first opening to interrupt and control the conversation. Before offering your opinions on what you hear, ask at least one follow-up question to show you’re curious to learn more. Examples include, “What other ideas do you have?” or “Can you expand on that point?”

— Adapted from “How to Be a Chief Listening Officer,” John Ryan, LinkedIn.

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