In communication, listening and speaking should be given the same importance. And yet, only 45% of our time when communicating is spent listening. Less time spent actively listening means that there is less emphasis being placed on really understanding what is being said.
For businesses, this is particularly problematic. That is because the less something is understood, the more likely something is to go wrong and the more time and resources will need to go into fixing the problem.
This guide is designed to help you better understand two of the most important communication tools, as well as provide employee development activities that can drastically improve communication, and increase your company’s productivity.
Paraphrasing is a powerful tool that allows you to see beneath what someone has said, and into motivation and implication. Often times, people have an aversion to coming out and saying what they mean, even if it is something benign. By practicing paraphrasing, you are forcing yourself not only to listen more clearly but to understand more deeply.
There are several best practices when paraphrasing. The first is to avoid judging or evaluating what is being said, at least not at first. Second, it is important to clearly state that this is the overall impression you have taken from their words: delineate between what they said and the impression you think they wanted to leave.
This can be easily practiced in an office setting. In meetings, you can ask one employee to paraphrase what another meant. The benefits of this exercise are twofold, as employees will learn to better listen and the importance of speaking clearly to avoid misunderstanding.
Unlike paraphrasing, summarizing is a tool that is designed to restate exactly what has been said in a meeting to make sure all parties are on the same page. This tool is often employed by waiters: they will restate everyone’s order to make sure that nothing was lost or misunderstood. This tool is just as helpful in the office environment.
By having to listen to every detail and be able to recall them later, you are helping your employees develop the skills that will make them better at following instructions and increase the productivity of your meetings.
A great way to practice summarizing is to have two employees keep minutes for the same meeting, and then compare them. Compare and contrast them as a group to see if they are more or less the same, or if different people picked up on different themes of conversation. You can also make sure that they are devoid of any personal ideas not addressed in the original meeting.
Employee development activities and soft skill training courses are both excellent tools to help foster better listening and communications. While it might require additional time and resources, the Benefits of employee training and development cannot be overstated.
To learn more about the importance of employee development activities, contact BlackRain Partners today.