Daily Connections Recap - 4/29/2020 - Listen well

As we enter a period of renewal and change, Your Clear Next Step is committed to helping our customers make their businesses and workdays even better. We will be here to walk beside you, to listen, to connect, and to aid in your search for clarity. In doing so, we are offering a free, daily Zoom call, called Daily Connections, at 1:15pm (CDT) every weekday from 3/19/2020-5/1/2020.

These calls are a chance for us to share tips and discussion about relevant topics (working remotely, maintaining consistency in uncertain times, building relationships across geography, staying motivated, staying connected, etc) and network with each other to provide help and support during this time of change.

Thank you to everyone who was able to join us today! The next call will be Thursday, April 30th at 1:15pm (CDT). Click here to join.

On today's call...

Sinikka talked about listening well.

I’m reasonably confident that these words will apply to us long after the world has recovered from COVID-19.  But right now, I think we probably need to brush up on our listening skills.  If you’ve been feeling isolated, and you’ve been out of practice listening to others, this might be a good refresher.  If you’ve been quarantined with a small group of people and have started to tune out their voices, then this might be a good refresher.  If you’ve been running meetings, leading conversations, driving decisions, doing more talking than listening, this might be a good refresher.  So here goes…

  • Truth 1: Listening involves more than just our ears.
    • In this world of social distancing, listening involves reading a message or a text, paying attention to silence or non-responses. 
    • When we’re face-to-face, listening involves watching the non-verbals in the room and paying attention to tone and space and intonation and pace, as well as the words. 
    • We have to consciously take the action to listen (close the book, put down the screen, pick up the phone, etc.
    • Tips: if you’re together, face the other person. Make eye contact.  Nod, lean in.  Take notes.  Use your imagination to picture what they’re saying.  IF you’re distanced, use words or texts to tell them you’re here.
  • Truth 2: Listening is not about me.  Listening is always and forever about the other person. 
    • If I’m listening to respond, I’ve made it about me. If I’m listening to pass the time until I can talk, I’ve made it about me. 
    • If I’m listening to genuinely hear and understand what the other person is saying, now it’s about them.
    • Tips for better listening: Give them feedback along the way, nod/smile, wait for a pause and ask clarifying questions.  Demonstrate empathy.
  • Truth 3: Listening requires managing me.
    • Sometimes I try to do stuff while I listen. Multitasking is a myth.
    • Sometimes people talk longer than I was prepared to listen. Before they start talking, take what you know about them and you, and make the appropriate amount of time, or set boundaries 
    • Sometimes people talk about things I don’t relate to or that aren’t interesting to me. Fix my interest…as they begin talking, remind me and them that I care about them, so what matters to them in this moment matters to me.
    • Sometimes I’m so ready to chime in with my part that I interrupt you.   Use a self-management technique to keep your mouth closed 
    • Sometimes I judge. That’s not really a part of good listening.  Try curiosity instead.  “I just said in my head that person is wrong/out of touch/something less-than and I’m done listening. Let me re-frame this to curiosity…I’m curious as to why they think that/said that/feel that.  I should learn more”
  • Truth 4: Listening involves participation.
    • Asking clarifying questions, offering support, responding to questions or requests for input are all helpful ways to engage
    • Offering your own perspective or idea, prefaced with “may I share some thoughts?”
    • Engage in a conversation and steer the person towards a more positive topic if necessary, or towards hope, or towards less darkness.
    • As the conversation winds down, wrap-up well, summarize what you heard and action items.

A few thoughts that were shared by the group: 

  • “Listening is the best thing you could ever say to someone” By listening you are actually contributing something to that communicator. It’s good to see people giving head nods and engagement. Not necessarily a receiving thing but also a sending thing
  • A good topic and reminder as we reengage with people. She lives alone so it is easy to be afraid of interacting with their emotions and how she will deal with that.
  • “If I was in your shoes, I would be feeling the same thing”
  • By listening we are earning the right to be heard. If you are wanting people to give you their attention, you need to be a good listener, so the person feels that they owe you the same courtesy.

Topics: COVID-19

Sinikka Waugh

About the Author

Sinikka Waugh

Sinikka Waugh is a recognized leader in understanding people and in adapting tools, techniques, and processes to meet the demands of the situation at hand. Since 2006, Sinikka has provided compassionate leadership in transformation initiatives. When she isn’t in front of a class, she enjoys putting her background in English and French Literature to work, by writing blogs about the subjects she teaches every day. Are you ready? If you are, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us! contactus@yourclearnextstep.com


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