“ To listen is to move. To listen is to be moved by the talker – physically and psychologically” Franklin Ernst Jr.
Listener who remains still is seen as controlled, cold, aloof and reserved. The listener who is ore active – but not in a fitful or nervous way – is experienced as friendly, warm, casual, and as not acting in a role.
Good listener moves the body in response to the speaker. Ineffective listeners move their bodies in response to stimuli that are unrelated to the talker.
Example of distracting motions and gestures: fiddle with pencils or keys, jingle money, fidget nervously, drum fingers, crack knuckles, frequently shift weight or cross and uncross legs, swing a crossed leg up and down, watch TV, wave or nod one’s head to people passing by, continue with one’s activities
Effective eye contact involves focusing one’s eyes softly on the speaker and occasionally shift the gaze from the speaker’s face to other parts of the body and then back to the face and then to eye contact once again.
Poor eye contact: repeatedly look away from the speaker, stare constantly or blankly
A child asks her parent a lot of questions at bedtime; those questions really mean “Please stay with me a little longer” A husband brings his wife coffee in bed every morning; the decoded message is “I love you and want to tell you daily in small ways”
We often forget to decode the messages
Decoding is always guesswork
How meant How sent How received Thoughts and feelings Actions and/or Words Listener’s interpretation of the meaning behind Private, known only to the speaker Often imprecise or veiled expressions or concealment Private, known only to the listener
Specific behavior description Fuzzy behavior description When you don’t shovel the snow from the driveway before going to school… When you don’t do your part around the house… When you arrive late for work three times this week… When you ignore the company policies… When you are not ready to leave for work by 7… When you dawdle over your breakfast…
Behavior description Inferences When you cut off several people before they were finished… When you behaved so rudely at the meeting… When you left the meeting 25 minutes before your report was to be given… When you left the meeting early just because Frank criticized you…
Describe objective statements rather than make judgments
Behavior description Character assassination When you say women are incapable of being effective managers… When you behave like a male chauvinist pig… When you repeatedly talk more than others in class… When you have constipation of the brain and diarrhea of the mouth…
Behavior description Use of absolutes When you are frequently late… When you are never on time… When you interrupt me before I have completed my statement… When you constantly interrupt me… When you park so that my bike is blocked in… When you always park to block others’ bike…
Behavior description Use of profanity When you do not call to let me know you will be late for the meeting… When you drag your ass in here late for meeting day after day… When you do not have the report written at the time promised You lying pig, you promised that the report would be ready by 4
Behavior description Use of judgmental words When you don’t return the can opener… When you hide the can opener on me… When you overspend our budget… When you waste our hard-earned money on unnecessary things…
Brief behavior description Lengthy description When you are frequently late for meetings… When you get all involved in your non-work activities and forget about the meeting time and run in late and sweating…
Assert about the real issues, don’t beat around the bush
Be less reluctant to assert the ‘little things’ Story: A man who walked across the NA continent from the west coast to east coast was besieged by reporters at the end of his journey. “What was the most difficult part of your trip – the Rocky, the heat of the desert?” The hiker replied “It was sand in my shoes”
Tangible effect on the asserter Behavior description Disclosure of feeling Tangible effect Costs When you used my bike and didn’t refill the gas tank I feel unfairly treated Because I have to pay more money for gasoline Time consumption When you are frequently late to pick me up I feel frustrated Because my time is wasted while I wait for you Effectiveness When you call me at work and talk at length I feel tense Because I don’t get all my work done on schedule