I help tech workers like you prepare for all types of client-facing conversations, meetings and interviews. When I do, I find a common thread in most of those I am coaching. Many, if not all, at some point, answer a question or reply to a statement that was never said [by me].
When this first happened, I was confused, thinking maybe it was my accent that the coachee was not understanding. Or possibly, there was a new word or phrase that was not familiar to them [as most of the professionals I coach speak English as a Second Language]. However, when I dug deeper, my coachees revealed a few things to me that I had not considered. I want to share these findings with you, so that you do not make the same mistakes.
When coaching professionals, I notice immediately when the answer or response is incongruent from what was previously said or asked and call the coachee out on it. In such cases, I am often very direct and say, “That is not a correct response for this question.” In some cases, I will ask them what question they answered and compare it to what I actually asked. In some cases, I need to point out the word or words the coachee confused to give an incorrect or incongruent answer.
Of course there are many other tips one can apply to not only listen and provide better responses, but to reduce or eliminate asking the other person to repeat. Here are a few more tips to help you listen better from US News & World Report:
Anyone who has experienced being truly listened to feels cared for and appreciated. When we can listen better to our clients and colleagues, respond appropriately and hold more engaging conversations, relationships flourish and working together is much each. Listening skills not only helps in improving day to day communication, understanding conversational cues, but also in the negotiation (push back) experience.
Jennifer Kumar, specializes in working with tech workers on global, dispersed teams to bridge the culture gap while communicating and conducting everyday business and meetings. She gives your development team the confidence, skills and cultural know-how to do what needs to get done in an effective and customer service-oriented way. Contact us for more information.
Original post: Sept. 2013. Updated Apr. 2019, Apr. 2022
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