The art of conversation lies in listening.
–Malcom Forbes

Listening takes work, it’s a skill most of us could improve upon, and working remotely adds to the difficulty.

Wiley’s Personal Listening Profile assesses five listening approaches:

  1. Appreciative: This style is more relaxed and seeks enjoyment, entertainment, or inspiration.
  2. Empathic: This style is supportive of the speaker, does not judge, and seeks to learn.
  3. Comprehensive: With this style the listener relates what they hear to what they’re already familiar with by organizing and summarizing the main message.
  4. Discerning: This style listens to get complete information so they understand the important details while also taking in appearance, tone and behavior.
  5. Evaluative: This style tends to look for facts that support the message and may accept or reject the message based on personal beliefs.

Does one style sound more like you than the others? Does your style change dependent on the speaker? And, does your preferred style change if the conversation is in person versus on conference or video calls?

These tips for working remotely have been shared previously but they’re worth sharing again:

  • For video calls encourage that the camera be “on” whenever possible and look for body language and levels of engagement
  • Listen for what’s being said and what isn’t being said
  • Don’t immediately assess what you’ve heard until the conversation has ended (we sometimes are too quick to think we understand and miss key points)
  • Avoid multi-tasking
  • Look attentive and interested in the speaker; nod for understanding and encouragement
  • Paraphrase your interpretation of the topic/message
  • Minimize or tune out distractions
  • Remain focused and attentiveStrong listening skills are required for effective communication and healthy relationships.  Be aware of your preferred style, adapt as necessary, and become an active and purposeful listener!

We have two ears and one tongue so that we would listen more and talk less.

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