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January 23, 2015

Listen Your Way to Better Responses

While many may think it's counterintuitive to stop talking and listen more, listening with more focus and purpose can actually save time and produce better results on client and customer calls. While the below videos demonstrate face-to-face interactions, the skills used in the videos can also be used in virtual communications such as phone calls and voice chats. 

What is good listening and bad listening? 
In a professional (and personal) environment good listening means we are paying full attention to the other person, not multitasking by answering emails or other phone calls,  responding at the right time (not interrupting) and responding appropriately (by reflective responses and words that match what the person was talking about). 

The videos below demonstrate examples of good and bad listening in an office environment. Regardless if we are talking or listening, there are three elements of any communication we hope to achieve - to have the other person THINK good things about us, FEEL good things about us, and to DO something with or for us. Keep that in mind when watching the videos below. 

Video: I'm Listening! Wait, What Did You Say? 
In this video, you will see a before and after of a typical conversation that could be had between an assistant and a manager in a multicultural office. How can these lessons be applied to your interactions with your colleagues?

Video: Leadership Training - Active Listening 
This video shows an ideal listening situation. Notice how much patience and time it takes to be a better listener. Sometimes as a listener we may feel our communication is not meaningful because we are quiet. While there are times we must talk of course, the conversation can have better outcomes for both parties if careful and patient listening is coupled with empathic responses that apply to the situation at hand. Notice these skills in this interaction between two colleagues in an office talking about some issues they are facing. 

Videos 3 & 4: Ineffective vs. Effective Listening
The below two videos are re-enactments between a subordinate and a boss in a daily status update meeting. Notice how problematic the first interaction is because of poor listening, multi tasking and impatience. Notice the more amicable outcome in the second video when the correct communication skills are applied. 

What differences do you notice? Share your thoughts below in the comments section.  

Listening with more focus and purpose can not only resolve difficult situations or help show empathy as in the situations above, but can help you as a non-native American, British or Canadian English speaker to focus on what is being said and minimize misunderstandings. Instead of thinking of what to say next, practice listening skills to go above and beyond hearing. 

Jennifer Kumar helps your India based teams to communicate with more clarity with their native-English speaking Western counterparts through learning listening skills, clear speaking skills, accent reduction techniques, and culture training. Contact her for more information. 

Related Posts: 

Quiet your mouth and and mind to listen better  
Problem resolution 
How to impress Americans

Authentic Journeys: Bridging Culture on Virtual Teams

We help build effective, culturally competent global teams with focus on the cultures of the USA and India. Jennifer Kumar, Managing Director, an American citizen, has almost 10 years experience living, studying and working (owning a business) in India. Authentic Journeys Consultancy is registered as a Private Limited in India (Kerala) and an LLC in the USA (Salt Lake City, Utah). We provide onsite and live-online instructor-led courses, facilitation and corporate coaching.