Tom Fuszard
Supreme Communications, LLC
New Berlin, Wisconsin
April 2014
1. Why it’s important to listen well
2. Challenges to listening well
3. 7 ways to improve your listening skills
Definition of listening well:
Hearing AND comprehending/understanding
You are paying attention
 Avoid misunderstandings –
Make sure you know what’s expected of you;
what was asked, stated, etc.
Avoid confusion and mi...
 Gain better understanding –
Being patient draws out the information better.
Speaker isn’t rushed. He or she better
artic...
 Save time: work efficiently –
Because you’re not wasting time asking follow-
up questions, you’re working more efficient...
 Save money: fewer reworks –
Doing it right the first time means fewer
reworks, reorders, reshipments, and everything
ass...
 Shows you really care –
Business people who take the time and put
forth the effort project a professional image –
one th...
 Courtesy –
Taking the time to listen well is just plain
courteous. That should be standard operating
procedure, but it i...
 Save your reputation/brand –
Poor customer service can kill a brand. Poor
listening skills – and the problems they cause...
 Multitasking –
We try to do too much at one time: monitor
email (often from more than one device), work
on a project, an...
 Tools provide confidence –
Because we have these tools, and access to the
Web, we are less inclined to listen well the f...
 Our emotional state –
Perhaps our day got off to a poor start (car
trouble, headache, leaking water heater).
Maybe a cus...
 Speech patterns; our biases –
The other person isn’t always an eloquent
speaker. You may hear a thick accent, poor or
sl...
 The other person’s emotional state –
Just as your issues interfere with your
concentration, so can outside forces affect...
 Environmental issues –
Some venues can be really challenging
environments for listening well. We’ll discuss a
remedy in ...
 1. Eliminate distractions/multitasking –
Focus on one project or task at a time. That
“task” may involve listening to so...
 2. Get back to the person:“Gimmee a few
moments” –
If you’re approached while working on a
project, ask to talk later. S...
 3. Change location –
Don’t try to force the conversation. Move to a
different room, go outside or into the hallway.
Move...
 4. Keep your mouth shut!
Let the person speak entirely. Don’t jump in,
even though you think you know what’s being
asked...
 5. Take notes –
Helps ensure you understand all the points or
information the person is providing. You can’t
hope to mem...
 6. Use eye contact; body positioning –
Good eye contact reinforces notion that you
value the person’s information or nee...
 7. Confirm your understanding –
Referring to your notes, summarize what you
have written. Make sure you understand all
d...
View samples at:
www.TomFuszard.com/samples
Send me a question or comment:
Tom@TomFuszard.com
Other venues:
www.twitter.co...
Improve your listening skills for enhanced performance, reputation
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Improve your listening skills for enhanced performance, reputation

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Listening skills are so important today. Daily pressures—brought upon by technology, ever-increasing demand on our time, and our own desire to exceed expectations—make it increasingly more difficult to deliver the high quality of service everyone deserves.

Yet deliver we must. In this presentation, we explain the importance of listening well, review many of the obstacles to this process, and cover several tactics that ensure you always offer your undivided attention, regardless of the circumstances.

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Improve your listening skills for enhanced performance, reputation

  1. 1. Tom Fuszard Supreme Communications, LLC New Berlin, Wisconsin April 2014
  2. 2. 1. Why it’s important to listen well 2. Challenges to listening well 3. 7 ways to improve your listening skills
  3. 3. Definition of listening well: Hearing AND comprehending/understanding You are paying attention
  4. 4.  Avoid misunderstandings – Make sure you know what’s expected of you; what was asked, stated, etc. Avoid confusion and mistakes; embarrassment of having to go back to the person to get information again.
  5. 5.  Gain better understanding – Being patient draws out the information better. Speaker isn’t rushed. He or she better articulates what is needed.
  6. 6.  Save time: work efficiently – Because you’re not wasting time asking follow- up questions, you’re working more efficiently, productively. Getting the task done right the first time.
  7. 7.  Save money: fewer reworks – Doing it right the first time means fewer reworks, reorders, reshipments, and everything associated with those issues. Bottom line: You literally save money.
  8. 8.  Shows you really care – Business people who take the time and put forth the effort project a professional image – one that says they really care. They care about their products and services. They care about their customers.
  9. 9.  Courtesy – Taking the time to listen well is just plain courteous. That should be standard operating procedure, but it is not in every business. People prefer to do business with those they like. Come across as courteous, and you stand a better chance of keeping that customer.
  10. 10.  Save your reputation/brand – Poor customer service can kill a brand. Poor listening skills – and the problems they cause – can cause customers to flee. Your business develops a bad reputation, meaning your brand has taken a hit.
  11. 11.  Multitasking – We try to do too much at one time: monitor email (often from more than one device), work on a project, answer the phone…and then try to listen to someone talking to us.
  12. 12.  Tools provide confidence – Because we have these tools, and access to the Web, we are less inclined to listen well the first time. We assume or know that we can get the information from an online source at any time.
  13. 13.  Our emotional state – Perhaps our day got off to a poor start (car trouble, headache, leaking water heater). Maybe a customer just had a tantrum, or a project isn’t going smoothly. These and other forces make it difficult to concentrate on what you’re listening to.
  14. 14.  Speech patterns; our biases – The other person isn’t always an eloquent speaker. You may hear a thick accent, poor or sloppy English; perhaps the person talks quietly or slowly. There are a number of factors that raise an internal ire. Those biases are barriers to listening well.
  15. 15.  The other person’s emotional state – Just as your issues interfere with your concentration, so can outside forces affect how well someone communicates with you. Understand that the speaker may be enduring some tough issues. Be patient.
  16. 16.  Environmental issues – Some venues can be really challenging environments for listening well. We’ll discuss a remedy in the next section, so understand that you don’t have to put up with it. At the same time, accept that some venues just aren’t conducive to listening well.
  17. 17.  1. Eliminate distractions/multitasking – Focus on one project or task at a time. That “task” may involve listening to someone speak. Turn off phones or set them to voice mail, log off email and social media sites, turn off the TV or radio. Understand that something has to give: you can’t do everything at once.
  18. 18.  2. Get back to the person:“Gimmee a few moments” – If you’re approached while working on a project, ask to talk later. Short of an emergency, what you’re working on now is more important. Ask for a few moments to complete that task. The other person will understand.
  19. 19.  3. Change location – Don’t try to force the conversation. Move to a different room, go outside or into the hallway. Move somewhere so you can carry on the conversation. The other person will appreciate it as much as you do.
  20. 20.  4. Keep your mouth shut! Let the person speak entirely. Don’t jump in, even though you think you know what’s being asked of you. First, that’s rude. More impor- tantly, you may be wrong. If the speaker is a customer, you could damage the relationship.
  21. 21.  5. Take notes – Helps ensure you understand all the points or information the person is providing. You can’t hope to memorize everything. Taking notes further shows you put value in what the person has to say. Plus, by writing, you’re less likely to talk out of line.
  22. 22.  6. Use eye contact; body positioning – Good eye contact reinforces notion that you value the person’s information or needs, and are willing to provide your undivided attention. Avoid temptation to look over the person’s should to see who else is in the room. Rude. Lean in and turn your head to hear better in noisy environments.
  23. 23.  7. Confirm your understanding – Referring to your notes, summarize what you have written. Make sure you understand all details before closing the conversation. The speaker will be impressed with your attention, and you are better suited to provide the proper solution or information.
  24. 24. View samples at: www.TomFuszard.com/samples Send me a question or comment: Tom@TomFuszard.com Other venues: www.twitter.com/TomFuszard www.YouTube.com/user/TomFuszard www.LinkedIn.com/in/TomFuszard ©2014 Thomas R. Fuszard
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