Mr. Blum seems pleased with your progress and may even feel you’re ready to take on greater challenges in the field-reporting unit. His main reason for the conversation, however, is to ask when the new report will be ready. Superiors often sandwich requests for action between motivational comments to build employee morale.
What can you do to listen more effectively to Mr. Blum?
Paraphrase his questions in return.
Lean forward and make eye contact.
Ask questions in return.
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Your goal during the conversation is to make Mr. Blum feel he has your undivided attention. Leaning forward and making eye contact are nonverbal signs that you are listening carefully. When you understand what Mr. Blum is asking, you can give him the information he wants.
Although asking questions and paraphrasing is generally helpful when listening to someone who is giving you information, these techniques can backfire when used in response to a reasonably simple question, such as the one Mr. Blum is asking. Asking additional questions may make it seem as if you are avoiding giving an answer, while paraphrasing the question may make it seem as if you are mocking Mr. Blum.
Identify whether each of the following examples is characteristic of a good listener or a poor listener.
Example Good Listener Poor Listener
1. Looks for new learning
2. Resists difficult material in favor of light, recreational material
3. Shows no energy; forgets what the speaker says
4. Works hard; exhibits active body state and eye contact