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Active Listening


Listening is one of the most important skills you can have. How well you listen has a major impact on your job effectiveness, and on the quality of your relationships with others.

  • We listen to obtain information.
  • We listen to understand.
  • We listen for enjoyment.
  • We listen to learn.

Given all this listening we do, you would think we'd be good at it!

In fact most of us are not, and research suggests that we remember between 25 percent and 50 percent of what we hear. That means that when you talk to your boss, colleagues, customers or spouse for 10 minutes, they pay attention to less than half of the conversation. This is dismal!

Turn it around and it reveals that when you are receiving directions or being presented with information, you aren't hearing the whole message either. You hope the important parts are captured in your 25-50 percent, but what if they're not?

Clearly, listening is a skill that we can all benefit from improving. By becoming a better listener, you will improve your productivity, as well as your ability to influence, persuade and negotiate. What's more, you'll avoid conflict and misunderstandings. All of these are necessary for workplace success!

Tip:
Good communication skills require a high level of self-awareness. By understanding your personal style of communicating, you will go a long way towards creating good and lasting impressions with others.

About Active Listening

The way to become a better listener is to practice "active listening." This is where you make a conscious effort to hear not only the words that another person is saying but, more importantly, try to understand the complete message being sent.

In order to do this you must pay attention to the other person very carefully.

You cannot allow yourself to become distracted by whatever else may be going on around you, or by forming counter arguments that you'll make when the other person stops speaking. Nor can you allow yourself to get bored, and lose focus on what the other person is saying. All of these contribute to a lack of listening and understanding.

Tip: 
If you're finding it particularly difficult to concentrate on what someone is saying, try repeating their words mentally as they say them – this will reinforce their message and help you stay focused.

To enhance your listening skills, you need to let the other person know that you are listening to what he or she is saying. To understand the importance of this, ask yourself if you've ever been engaged in a conversation when you wondered if the other person was listening to what you were saying. You wonder if your message is getting across, or if it's even worthwhile continuing to speak. It feels like talking to a brick wall and it's something you want to avoid.

Acknowledgement can be something as simple as a nod of the head or a simple "uh huh." You aren't necessarily agreeing with the person, you are simply indicating that you are listening. Using body language and other signs to acknowledge you are listening also reminds you to pay attention and not let your mind wander.

You should also try to respond to the speaker in a way that will both encourage him or her to continue speaking, so that you can get the information if you need. While nodding and "uh huhing" says you're interested, an occasional question or comment to recap what has been said communicates that you understand the message as well.

Becoming an Active Listener

There are five key elements of active listening. They all help you ensure that you hear the other person, and that the other person knows you are hearing what they say.

1. Pay Attention

Give the speaker your undivided attention, and acknowledge the message. Recognize that non-verbal communication also "speaks" loudly.

  • Look at the speaker directly.
  • Put aside distracting thoughts.
  • Don't mentally prepare a rebuttal!
  • Avoid being distracted by environmental factors. For example, side conversations.
  • "Listen" to the speaker's body language.

2. Show That You're Listening

Use your own body language and gestures to convey your attention.

  • Nod occasionally.
  • Smile and use other facial expressions.
  • Note your posture and make sure it is open and inviting.
  • Encourage the speaker to continue with small verbal comments like yes, and uh huh.

3. Provide Feedback

Our personal filters, assumptions, judgments, and beliefs can distort what we hear. As a listener, your role is to understand what is being said. This may require you to reflect what is being said and ask questions.

  • Reflect what has been said by paraphrasing. "What I'm hearing is," and "Sounds like you are saying," are great ways to reflect back.
  • Ask questions to clarify certain points. "What do you mean when you say." "Is this what you mean?"
  • Summarize the speaker's comments periodically.

Tip: 
If you find yourself responding emotionally to what someone said, say so, and ask for more information: "I may not be understanding you correctly, and I find myself taking what you said personally. What I thought you just said is XXX; is that what you meant?"

4. Defer Judgment

Interrupting is a waste of time. It frustrates the speaker and limits full understanding of the message.

  • Allow the speaker to finish each point before asking questions.
  • Don't interrupt with counter arguments.

5. Respond Appropriately

Active listening is a model for respect and understanding. You are gaining information and perspective. You add nothing by attacking the speaker or otherwise putting him or her down.

  • Be candid, open, and honest in your response.
  • Assert your opinions respectfully.
  • Treat the other person in a way that you think he or she would want to be treated.

Key Points

It takes a lot of concentration and determination to be an active listener. Old habits are hard to break, and if your listening habits are as bad as many people's are, then there's a lot of habit-breaking to do!

Be deliberate with your listening and remind yourself frequently that your goal is to truly hear what the other person is saying. Set aside all other thoughts and behaviors and concentrate on the message. Ask questions, reflect, and paraphrase to ensure you understand the message. If you don't, then you'll find that what someone says to you and what you hear can be amazingly different!

Start using active listening today to become a better communicator, improve your workplace productivity, and develop better relationships.





 

Junaid Tahir 
www.DailyTenMinutes.com

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A Year of Parenting - Cartoons :)




Source: Parenting


 

Junaid Tahir 
www.DailyTenMinutes.com

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Super Heroes :)





MS Word Tip: How to Password-Protect a word document?



1. Click the OFFICE BUTTON (@ Top Left) , go to PREPARE and then click ENCRYPT DOCUMENT.

2. In the ENCRYPT DOCUMENT dialog box, type a PASSWORD and click OK.

Photo: WORD : HOW TO PASSWORD-PROTECT A WORD DOCUMENT ?    1. Click the OFFICE BUTTON (@ Top Left) , go to PREPARE and then click ENCRYPT DOCUMENT.    2. In the ENCRYPT DOCUMENT dialog box, type a PASSWORD and click OK.    3. In the CONFIRM PASSWORD dialog box, re-enter password, and click OK.    4. Save the file.    Note :  Do not forget your password, it cannot be recovered


 

Junaid Tahir 
www.DailyTenMinutes.com

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The Ant & the Contact Lens


Brenda was a young woman who was invited to go rock climbing. Although she was scared to death, she went with her group to a tremendous granite cliff. In spite of her fear, she put on the gear, took hold on the rope and started up the face of that rock. Well, she got to a ledge where she could take a breather. As she was hanging on there, the safety rope snapped against Brenda's eye and knocked out her contact lens.


Well, here she is on a rock ledge, with hundreds of feet Below her and hundreds of feet above her. Of course, she looked and looked and looked, hoping it had landed on the ledge, but it just wasn't there. Here she was, far from home, her sight now blurry. She was desperate and began to get upset, so she prayed to the Lord to help her to find it.

When she got to the top, a friend examined her eye and her clothing for the lens, but there was no contact lens to be found. She sat down, despondent, with the rest of the party, waiting for the rest of them to make it up the face of the cliff.

She looked out across range after range of mountains She thought, "Lord, You can see all these mountains. You know every stone and leaf, and You know exactly where my contact lens is. Please help me."

Finally, they walked down the trail to the bottom. At the bottom there was a new party of climbers just starting up the face of the cliff. One of them shouted out, "Hey, you guys! Anybody lose a contact lens?" Well, that would be startling enough, but you know why the climber saw it? An ant was moving slowly across the face of the rock, carrying it. 

Brenda told me that her father is a cartoonist. When she told him the incredible story of the ant, the prayer, and the contact lens, he drew a picture of an ant lugging that contact lens with the words, "Lord, I don't know why You want me to carry this thing. I can't eat it, and it's awfully heavy. But if this is what You want me do, I'll carry it for You." I think it would probably do some of us good to occasionally say, "God, I don't know why you want me to carry this load. I can see no good in it and it's awfully heavy. 
But, if you want Me to carry it, I will." 

5 Techniques to Recharge Your Employees






I have realized that I can relate any employee with a re-chargeable battery. To elaborate it more, lets consider the analogy of smart phones. In most of the smart phones the battery consumption is displayed on the top right corner of mobile screen. When the consumption percentage falls below 25%, the color of battery icon turns orange and when it is less than 10% the color goes alarmingly red. So it is responsibility of the owner to ensure timely charging to keep it functional. Just like that, it is responsibility of each manager to closely observe the discharge level of each member of his/her team and take appropriate measures to ensure high efficiency of the employee consequently getting maximum throughput. The good news is that when employees are charged more and more, they produce the results in the same high proportion!

So below are some techniques which can be considered to boost the charge level:

1-    Trainings: Needless to emphasize the importance of training, this is one of the critically important aspect of professional growth and ultimately for the business enhancement. It's a genuine Win-Win approach. I highly recommend studying the concept of "Sharpen The Saw" from Stephen Covey's 7 Habits of Highly effective people ®. The trainings can either be online, or in-house or at international level. Further, podcasts can also be considered. 

2-   Professional Membership: Encourage employee to join professional groups. Even if the company has to pay some amount for the membership, it should be done. Employee will get satisfaction for being the member and will learn new ideas and trends in the industry which will eventually help business growth.

3-   Get together: If possible, Employee's families to be invited as well. This will give extra boost to employee's satisfaction index. Outdoor activities including Lunch, games and fun activities can be considered.

4-   Financial benefits: This is the most attractive part from employee's perspective. This can either be on annual or project basis. Specific targets can be set in terms of sale (or any applicable Key Performance Indicator). High KPI should result in high bonus. This will ensure employee go extra mile to achieve high and high. Also Employee of the month is another technique which should be used. A certificate along with optimal amount of cash will feed extra energy.

5-   Knowledge based sessions: Technical and motivational lectures/events should be arranged on weekly or monthly basis. You may find a gem within your team who loves to speak on a specific subject. Find such people and give them the opportunity to share their knowledge and skills with other colleagues.

How to Negotiate a Higher Salary

Negotiating a higher salary is the last but trickiest part of securing a new job or keeping yourself happy in your current one. By negotiating a higher salary, you and your employer are letting each other know what the expectations are in terms of workload and compensation. With information and preparation, you will be able to negotiate for the higher salary you want and achieve positive results.
 
Step 1
Research what the market rate is for your position. Then you will know how much you should expect to negotiate.
 
Step 2
Look over your job description. Whether you are a new employee or a current one, it is important to consider what's expected of you and whether the salary your company is offering adequately covers those expectations.
 
Step 3
Round up your accomplishments. How much money have you saved the company or past companies? How much money have you made for them? Your hiring manager, recruiter or boss may ask you these questions when salary negotiations commence. Have the answers.
 
Step 4
Plan what you want to say before you meet with human resources or the boss. Do not try to negotiate a higher salary over email or telephone; salary negotiations should take place in a scheduled meeting.
 
Step 5
Listen carefully to the counteroffer. Carefully consider the comments or feedback he or she is providing. Ask questions if you need clarification or elaboration.
 
Step 6
Get the final offer in writing after salary negotiations end. If the company doesn't record the terms of your agreement, it is almost certainly subject to change.
 
Source: E-How.com

M Junaid Tahir

www.DailyTenMinutes.com
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Three Differences Between Managers and Leaders

 A young manager accosted me the other day. "I've been reading all about leadership, have implemented several ideas, and think I'm doing a good job at leading my team. How will I know when I've crossed over from being a manager to a leader?" he wanted to know.

I didn't have a ready answer and it's a complicated issue, so we decided to talk the next day. I thought long and hard, and came up with three tests that will help you decide if you've made the shift from managing people to leading them.

Counting value vs Creating value. You're probably counting value, not adding it, if you're managing people.Only managers count value; some even reduce value by disabling those who add value. If a diamond cutter is asked to report every 15 minutes how many stones he has cut, by distracting him, his boss is subtracting value.

By contrast, leaders focuses on creating value, saying: "I'd like you to handle A while I deal with B." He or she generates value over and above that which the team creates, and is as much a value-creator as his or her followers are. Leading by example and leading by enabling people are the hallmarks of action-based leadership.

Circles of influence vs Circles of power.Just as managers have subordinates and leaders have followers, managers create circles of power while leaders create circles of influence.

The quickest way to figure out which of the two you're doing is to count the number of people outside your reporting hierarchy who come to you for advice. The more that do, the more likely it is that you are perceived to be a leader.

Leading people vs Managing workManagement consists of controlling a group or a set of entities to accomplish a goal. Leadership refers to an individual's ability to influence, motivate, and enable others to contribute toward organizational success. Influence and inspiration separate leaders from managers, not power and control.

In India, M.K. Gandhi inspired millions of people to fight for their rights, and he walked shoulder to shoulder with them so India could achieve independence in 1947. His vision became everyone's dream and ensured that the country's push for independence was unstoppable. The world needs leaders like him who can think beyond problems, have a vision, and inspire people to convert challenges into opportunities, a step at a time.

I encouraged my colleague to put this theory to the test by inviting his team-mates for chats. When they stop discussing the tasks at hand � and talk about vision, purpose, and aspirations instead, that's when you will know you have become a leader.

Agree?

More blog posts by�Vineet Nayar


 

Junaid Tahir 
www.DailyTenMinutes.com

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