Indicators of Poor Listening


In the customer service environment, you cannot afford the luxury of failing to listen to your customer. Periodically, you should do a self-check on your listening style to see if you need improvement. If any of the following events occur, you may need to refocus.

  • Customers  specifically request to speak to or be served by someone else.
  • You find yourself missing key details of conversations.
  • You regularly have to ask people to repeat information.
  • You walk away from phone calls or personal encounters not completely knowing what action is required of you.
  • Customers often make statements, such as, “Did you hear what I said?” Are you listening to me?” or “You are not listening.”
  • You find yourself daydreaming or distracted as the customer is speaking.
  • You miss accompanying nonverbal cues sent by the customer as the two of you communicate.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, and my Lectures.

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Positive Thinking and Reality


We have seen positive-thinking political candidates on the eve of a landslide defeat still insisting they can sense victory in spite of the polls. Positive thinking alone will not guarantee top marks for a student on his upcoming final exam, if he has never studied or attended classes. Positive thinking that is unsupported by any cooperative actions can become simply wishful thinking.

On the other hand best-trained people will never win if they lack positive mental images, because the resulting lack of confidence will always distract concentration and diminish ability.

The same powerful principles of imagery apply to enhancing performances in the working world. Rather than taking untrained young graduates and plunging into stressful work situations, enlightened companies are first investing in the building of positive images to enhance performance and confidence. Imagined experiences can be as good as real ones in building up a store of confidence.

In any job, a style of language can set the tone for a positive or negative approach. The power of words in establishing an image has long been recognized by public relations and promotion experts. However, even more influential than the choice of words to sell products or concepts to large audiences is the impact of the wording of our internal communications, otherwise known as “self-talk.”

With so much of the economy based on service industries, the positive attitude behind every employee’s smile becomes an essential ingredient for success in the workplace. An individual who thinks positively and gravitates towards positive-thinking friends and colleagues, or a corporation that consciously nurtures a positive culture, will always outperform those who wallow in doom and gloom.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, and my Lectures.

Speaking the Body Language


About 60 to 70 percent of what we communicate has nothing to do with words. More important than speaking the language is what you communicate without words. Many travelers trust that if they don’t speak the language, there are a hundred gestures to get across almost any meaning. But gestures have quite different meanings in different parts of the world; body language is not universal. Subtleties are noticed, like the length of time you hold on while shaking hands. On a very unconscious level we can turn people off even when we are on good behavior. Thumbs up is considered vulgar in Iran and Ghana, equivalent to raising the middle finger in the United States. Touching a person’s head, including children’s, should be avoided in Singapore or Thailand. In Yugoslavia, people shake their heads for yes—appearing to us to be saying no.

In general, avoid gesturing with the hand. Many people take offense at being beckoned this way, or pointed out, even if only conversationally. In parts of Asia, gestures and even slight movements can make people nervous. If you jab your finger in the air or on a table to make a point, you might find that your movements have been so distracting that you have not made your point at all. Unintentionally, Americans come across as aggressive and pushy. Yet, in other parts of the world, particularly in Latin America or Italy, gesturing is important for self-expression, and the person who does not move a lot while talking comes across as bland or uninteresting. As always, watch what local people do. Or ask.

Body language is more than gestures. You communicate by the way you stand, sit, tense facial muscles, tap fingers, and so on. Unfortunately, these subtler body messages are hard to read across cultures; mannerisms don’t translate. In many parts of the world, looking someone in the eye is disrespectful.

In Japan a person who looks a subordinate in the eye is felt to be judgmental and punitive, while someone who looks his superior in the eye is assumed to be hostile or slightly insane. The Arabs like eye contact—the eyes are windows to soul—but theirs seem to dart about much more than Americans. We don’t trust “shifty-eyed” people.

Subtle differences in eye contact between the British and North Americans can be confusing. English listening behavior includes immobilization of the eyes at a social focal distance, so that either eye gives the appearance of looking straight at the speaker. On the other hand, an American listener will stare at the speaker’s eye, first one, then the other, relieved by frequent glances over the speaker’s shoulder.

Eye contact during speaking differs too. Americans keep your attention by boring into you with eyes and words, while the British keep your attention by looking away while they talk. When their eyes return to yours, it signals they have finished speaking and it is your turn to talk. These almost imperceptible differences in eye contact interfere with rapport building and trust.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, and my Lectures.

Developing a Goals System


The process of identifying and structuring the goals system that is emerging from an exploration of strategic issues helps clarify what the strategic direction of the organization will be if no deliberate actions are taken to change it. Through understanding the potential impact of the issues and opportunities facing the organization, steps can be taken to position the organization in such a way as to resolve or capitalize upon these. As such, it provides a valuable benchmark against which to consider the strategic future. Thus, the process involves identifying the goals and understanding how they impact on one another. However, we usually find that a developing understanding of the nature of a goal comes from working on your own material.

Although not being absolutely dependent on the previous activities of issue surfacing, or interviewing using cognitive maps, the goal surfacing activity powerfully extends both the initial activities and takes the strategic thinking process one step further towards realizing a strategic intent and direction. An alternative means of surfacing goals can be achieved through starting with a blank wall (or computer screen if using the computer-supported mode of working). However, this form of the process does not recognize the role of existing problem identification (surfacing the issues) in suggesting real goals of the organization are and can be distracted from, through discussing those that are espoused. Starting with a description of apparent goals can miss the reality of the organization and provides an idealistic view of what the organization can and will achieve.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, Line of Sight

Listening


Listening is the most important component of communication. There is a wrong notion that a person who talks fluently is a good communicator. He need not be. It is true that talking fluently is an important component of communication. But all talkers are not good communicators.

Communication has three important components: a) making others appreciate what you say, b) making others understand what you say, and c) making others apply what you say in their life. It is much more than talking.

Listening is said to be a vital factor in the process of communication. One needs to be a good listener in addition to being a good talker, for communicating effectively. One may feel that listening is very simple and everyone is good in listening. The fact is that it is untrue. Many like and do the talking and they seldom listen to others. recall a conversation you had with your friend recently. Estimate the amount of time that you were talking, compared to the time spent by your friend talking to you. You would notice that there has always been an inner urge to express ourselves to others rather than listening to others.

If you want to be good at listening, take care of the following:

  • Be genuinely interested in listening.
  • Look at the person always.
  • Do not get distracted.
  • As you listen keep assimilating the points.
  • When you don’t understand ask the person to repeat.
  • Don’t interrupt unnecessarily.
  • Don’t project your views, ideas in between.
  • Don’t stop the other person till he does it on his own.
  • Be patient.
  • Be careful about the gesture that you make (it should not give any negative signals).

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, Line of Sight