A skill that seems to be lacking in a lot of people is effective listening. Effective listening is not 100% listening to others, but it is also the art of listening, asking questions and evaluating what you are hearing. Lately it is not just the spoken word that is getting missed, but also the written word. I have recently experienced people only reading the first line or two of an e-mail. Too often people are quick to respond verbally or written.
Steps to Effective Listening ( verbal )
1. Relax and filter everything else out.
2. Look at the person in the eye who is speaking. This guarantees a focus of concentration.
3. Make a mental note of key points.
4. When the person is done talking, ask for points of clarification where required.
5. Evaluate everything that was said. Be slow to act on what is said.
6. Note taking can be used as a tool.
Note: Do not interrupt the speaker. This could be a distraction that would result in loss of information. Wait for a proper break to ask questions or comment.
Steps to Effective Listening ( written )
1. Carefully read the message or email.
2. Remember, there is very little to no emotions in most written word. Read it accordingly.
3. If uncertain of meaning or intent of the message or email, read it again.
4. Ask questions, but remove your emotion. Be thorough with your questions or comments.
5. If uncertain about content of your reply, type it up, close it as a draft. Come back to it later.
6. If you are not in the frame of mind for processing what was said in the email, put it into a folder to reply to later.
Note: Remove your emotion when replying or typing emails. When reading and email, remove the other persons emotion. Read at least twice.