Tag Archives: listening

  • -
louder voices

Louder Voices Aren’t Always Smarter Voices

Tags : 

Do you believe everything you hear? Are the people with louder voices saying the right things?

Everyone has a choice for what they choose to believe. It is true for politics, religion, and even our actions and behaviors in public or in your workplace.

Most people are familiar with the concept of the squeaky wheel. The notion that the person who makes the most noise gets the attention.

Is it true?

The best answer is, sometimes.

Louder Voices

Workplace leaders should always self-reflect on what sparks their ideas and directions for making business decisions. We all process information, it may be information we seek or it may be information we stumble upon.

Louder is a metaphorical expression, not necessarily connected to volume. It’s true, some people are just louder than others.

In modern circles louder often comes from the network. The community of people who come together with similar ideas, values, or beliefs. They tend to shout, sometimes loudly, and they are often heard.

When evidence seems to appear that corroborates the noise they recently received, it becomes an apparent truth.

While it is important for everyone to consider the information they give. It is just as important to consider the information you receive.

In workforce circles there is often a discussion of workplace politics. It has to do with how people navigate the boss, the circles of gossip, rumors, and the content of the secret meeting.

Louder voices seem to often get the stage and the microphone.

Just because they are louder it doesn’t mean it is smarter.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.


  • -
information highway

Information Highway and the Dangers of the Path

Tags : 

Are you traveling on the information highway? Do you realize the path that you are on?

Many people believe they are on information overload. A problem that is created when so much information is available or forced in front of you the average person gives up.

They give up because it is too much to digest in too short of a period of time. Frustrated and anxious, they check-out, they cannot consume or absorb anything additional.

It is true for most of our mainstream news. It may be true on social media channels, true at conferences, true in our workplace meetings, and even true in classrooms and seminars. Overload, too much, too fast, and too ambiguous.

Information Highway

The thing of it is, most people don’t just shut down when they are on information overload. They try to make sense of it all. Often they do that through conversation and questions.

People sort, they sort through the waves of information and look for what they believe to be real. It may be confirmation bias at play. What fits their own personal narrative. Will it benefit them or make things more difficult?

Benefits are welcomed and absorbed, difficulties get set aside or ignored.

We are creatures of habit and ease. We often don’t listen well because listening requires discipline and takes effort. Most people prefer to listen for key words and decide if they’ll engage or daydream.

What Path Are You On?

It is all about the information and delivery.

What if you could make a difference today? Imagine sorting through the waves of information quickly and getting to the truth. Then imagine the ability to disseminate the important and truthful information while actually being heard.

The biggest danger of the information highway is the path of one-sided communication. It is the path without questions, conversations, or scrutiny.

Have more conversations, more dialog, and develop deeper meaning. Sharing in the story is a powerful way to tell it.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.


  • -
feedback listeners

Feedback Listeners Improve More

Tags : 

There is a good chance that feedback surrounds you. Feedback listeners will improve more, be better prepared, and build stronger relationships. Should this be you?

We often think of feedback in a very formal sense. A performance review, a meeting with your boss, or even asking a friend for some reflection on your project or performance.

We don’t always like what we hear and there may be a time or a place when feedback, or should I say, mismanaged feedback, can derail performance.

Feedback is Everywhere

You probably get more feedback than you realize.

Nice tie.

Love your purse.

Let me finish what I have to say. (May imply you tend to cut people off or finish their sentences for them.)

This may happen in what feels like a normal conversation. That’s because it is, it’s just a normal conversation. Yet, there is feedback happening.

Sometimes we get positive feedback when people recognize we tried really hard. Even if the performance or end result was off a bit, there is the recognition that repeating this behavior will be helpful and may become masterful.

In other cases, it may be what is missing in feedback that is the true feedback.

You painted the room yellow. That is an interesting shade.

This of course could be identified as they love the color, or it could mean they don’t find it attractive.

Roll these concepts into the workplace. It matters for the career minded workplace professional. It matters a lot.

Feedback Listeners

Feedback can spark encouragement or it can derail future efforts.

It is important to keep this in mind the next time you’re offering your ideas, opinions, or suggestions. Think about how you can be helpful and generous with the information you are providing.

It is also important to keep this in mind as the listener. What is in the message for you? How can you gain important insights to improve your performance or relationship?

Feedback sometimes seems unappreciated. Perhaps it isn’t the right timing or perhaps you haven’t managed it well. Anything connected to the word criticism (such as “I have some constructive criticism.”) is not going to work.

-DEG

Do you or your employee teams struggle with feedback? Contact me or check out my books.

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.


  • -
noise

A Perspective About The Noise In Your Head

Tags : 

That noise that is rattling around in your head is obvious to you, but no one else really notices or cares. As people we often hope that someone will notice, and more importantly care.

Ask someone why they were disappointed with their service and they’ll likely tell you that it was because no one seemed to care.

Why Care?

When you think about your friends from grade school, high school, or college do you wonder if they’re thinking about you? Perhaps they are, yet most people are much more engaged with what is happening right in front of them.

We sometimes refer to this as the squeaky wheel principle. The idea that whoever squeals the loudest gets the attention. In some regards, this is always true.

As humans we are hard wired to be alert to what is happening right in front of us. If someone starts shouting, we stop, we observe, and we listen more carefully. It is our instincts at play.

If we feel threatened or hungry or scared, we follow instinctual instructions to change the situation or be more alert than normal. We care about what happens next.

What does it take for you to notice or care enough to give your undivided attention?

Noise In Your Head

This is important to remember, the noise going on in your head is really just your noise. It isn’t necessarily noticeable to others.

Sure, you could walk with a stomp, put on a pout face, or clench your fist, but unless you are in front of an audience, it’s likely that no one will notice.

The noise in your head is your noise, unless of course you choose to share it. Even then, it is up to others to notice, observe, and listen.

Here is what matters the most. When we take a minute to care enough to ask someone else about their World, it gives them the opportunity to have their noise heard.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.


  • -
good listening

Good Listening Requires Great Effort

Tags : 

As a general rule everyone can be a good listener. Good listening is not an instinctive process, rather it is a developed skill that requires great effort.

It is funny, observations of workplaces struggling with communication challenges. The first thing they often do is attempt to have more communication.

Meetings increase in size and number of occurrences. Email lists grow, making sure everyone is copied. Time spent communicating increases but does the effectiveness?

We use the words hearing and listening synonymously. Yet, they really are not the same thing.

Assuming no disabilities, we hear sounds, noises, and people. Hearing is an instinctual process. Good listening is a developed skill.

Good Listening

Many people are lazy listeners. It is probably safe to say that most people are lazy listeners. We listen only to what we want, things that require little effort, or things we find enjoyable.

Everything else, it gets tuned out.

In the workplace, many people have already decided it is not worth the effort. Someone is complaining, someone else is blaming, and the boss, well, he or she is just micromanaging. Tuned out.

Great listening comes from high energy people. It is sparked by interest, sometimes fear, and always takes effort.

Great Effort

Effort to sort the information, qualify it appropriately, comprehend, remove bias, stereotyping, and other filters. When our emotions get activated it can enhance our listening or have us applying filters that mean we absorb the communication different from its intention.

It is not impossible to be a great communicator. It is not impossible to be a great listener.

Are you committed enough to put in the effort? Do you care enough?

More communication isn’t always the answer. In fact, it often makes things worse.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.


  • -
facts matter

Have You Wondered if the Facts Matter?

Tags : 

Nearly every moment of every day is a chance to tell a story. The story of the big fish, the trophy you won, or the co-worker who consistently turns out bad work. Do the facts matter or is the drama more valuable?

Workplace Stories

Stories often get embellished. Worse yet, they grow in drama bit-by-bit nearly each time they are told. The basis of the story may be founded in evidence and truth, but the way it is told magnifies the sweet spots.

Around the workplace people often find themselves living for the drama or wishing it didn’t exist. The culture certainly plays a role. When we inquire and investigate it is a chance for someone to tell their story.

Culture often decides what we will spend more time to investigate, understand and adopt, or what it will choose to ignore. The investigative process itself may be a cultural attribute. If the focus on work to be completed feels more important, less opportunity exists for stories.

Facts Matter

The story often told, and the story we hear, is a story riddled with opinions. The emphasis becomes about the wrong doing, the unfair act, and the less than truthful analysis of others.

Opinions are what we often share.

She never shows up on time and doesn’t care

He never does his part and is highly overpaid.

Opinions embellish the story. They shift the facts ever so slightly, or in some cases alter the truth in the message.

Listening requires energy. Hearing the message is not the same as listening to the message. We hear a voice talking, but listening takes things to higher level.

Down on energy from the work at hand we only listen when there is great interest. If we aren’t careful, we’ll process opinions as facts.

Now you are reminded, facts matter.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.


  • -
Intentional listening

Why Intentional Listening is Different

Tags : 

Listening is not instinctive. Hearing on the other hand happens without effort. We hear sounds, voices, and music. Intentional listening is probably not as easy as you think. It requires something more than just showing up.

Things People Do

Many workplace professionals feel stressed. They grow weary and tired of the everyday grind. Work isn’t always easy, but when we understand more about how to help ourselves things can (and do) get better.

Communication is a funny thing. People and teams often believe that when miscommunication occurs it means that it is time for more communication.

What do people do?

Often, they start with providing more communication. More meetings, more phone calls, and more email. Unfortunately, this often doesn’t improve the problem, it adds to it. Effective communication makes more sense.

Intentional listening is effective. What are your listening habits?

Intentional Listening

Why is listening such a valued part of communication? We can start with the idea that it is the other side of speaking. Consider that theoretically, there is only one speaker at a time, while the number of people listening can be quite expansive. A positive ratio.

At least two important barriers exist for listening. One is, do we have the proper skill? The other is, are we willing to put in the effort?

Skill is important. Carefully decoding and interpreting messages faces numerous challenges. As people, we struggle with bias, stereotypes, filters, and so much more. The more we understand barriers the better we can become.

Effort is often where the magic happens. Although there isn’t really anything magical about it, raw effort and intention may be the key. It requires energy. The question is are you willing to put in the effort?

Hanging out at the meeting may feel like you are doing your part. Listening and contributing must be intentional.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.


  • -
data listening

Data Listening, Do You Have This Skill?

Tags : 

Data is out there, it is everywhere. We have lots and lots of data but what does it all mean? What about the opinions from friends, coworkers, or clients? Are you effective at data listening?

When we hear the word data we often think about numbers. We think about the financial statement, the metric for production efficiency, or the results from a scientific study. Sure, that is data, but so is the information that surrounds us.

Data Trouble Spots

Several trouble spots with data often plague organizational team members. It may be the CEO, or it may be the front-line team lead. It happens in stand-alone decisions or in the group or committee. Are you listening to the data? Should you?

Here are a few trouble spots:

  • Biased listening
  • Inappropriate frame
  • Too much data
  • Too little data
  • Opinions not facts

Often the more experienced we believe we are, the less effective we are at data listening. As leaders grow and elevate their status they may also start to listen with less efficiency and more bias.

Self-perception or deception is often problematic. Leaders make choices based on gut feel, or what seems to be the most mainstream point of view. Worse, they sometimes do it for future positioning or self-interest.

Data Listening

Some listening deficiencies are easily improved. Others are harder to identify or address.

Framing is a significant problem. Simply put, people don’t know what they don’t know. Every decision we make is based on our frame.

While the origins are obscure, the idiom, “Think outside the box,” is often attributed to John Adair who studied critical thinking in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. Watch out for the frame you place around your decisions.

Information and data are everywhere, it is the art of exceptional listening that makes a difference for what happens next. Thinking alike is often just as problematic as it is good.

Sometimes the best way to see the data is with a different set of eyes.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.


  • -
constructive contributions

Constructive Contributions Are Valuable In The Workplace

Tags : 

Conditioning plays a role in much of what we do. As children or young adults many have learned to keep quiet, to not say anything, and just sit back and observe. However, it is constructive contributions that will have an impact on your future.

Speak Up, Listen, Contribute

Many people are afraid to speak up. It may be from ridicule, from the risk of being wrong, or because past experience has taught us it is safer without comment.

There is value in listening more, and many people should practice better listening, but what things are going unsaid?

How many times have you sat in the meeting with a thought on your mind but you failed to share it? How many times could the lost sale, lost client, or lousy performance have been prevented?

Measuring Risk

The value of constructive contributions is very high but like many high value items it is often very rare.

People often measure risk in the wrong way. What is riskier, speaking up, or watching the team go down the wrong path?

It may be alarming the number of times that things go unsaid. Of course, sometimes inaction may be the right action. How do you know what to do?

Constructive Contributions

When you paraphrase, you often increase understanding and limit miscommunication. What is the risk or the harm? Little or none.

When you build on others ideas for the benefit of the decision, there is little effort wasted and the quality of the decision improves. You also invite future contributions.

When you take a chance, leap, and risk with thoughtful, constructive contributions, you may change the outcome. You may invent something new, better, or appropriately encourage redesign.

The best job security, the highest probability for a promotion, and the insurance of a future for your organization may exist through constructive contributions.

While there may be some risk, the value is great.

Ante up.

-DEG

Originally posted on August 8, 2018, last updated on November 24, 2019.

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.


  • -
service escalation

Service Escalation and Why Your Customers Ask For It

Tags : 

“Follow the chain of command.” That is what we are often taught. Many workplace professionals identify this as a sign of respect, integrity, and loyalty. Are your customers asking for service escalation?

It happens the moment a customer asks to speak with the manager. Some customers may act on impulse. They have learned from experience that you need to jump to a higher level to get results.

Starts Internally

The same is true internally. When the operations group feels that the sales group over-committed. When the sales group feels that operations aren’t fulfilling efficiently. Employee teams either solve the problems or escalate them.

In most cases there is a force at work here. The force is trying to stop the escalation. The concept is simple. When you stop the problem from escalating you are servicing the customer more efficiently.

No fingers are pointed. Time and effort are minimized. Everyone is happy. At least that is the concept.

It is a tug-of-war with the customer. For the customer it may send the message that their service problem is not important. The customer demands escalation, the leadership wants to train the staff not to escalate.

Training the staff to avoid escalation has value to the customer, but only when it is proven. Proof occurs when the staff is appropriately empowered (and trained) to solve problems.

Service Escalation

In the smallest organization, the President is the front line. Things typically work out. In every organization larger than the smallest, different challenges develop.

Organizational leaders should understand the challenges faced by the customer. A good starting point is listening carefully to those they have empowered on the front line.

The culture of service internally is what the external customer always feels.

Escalation occurs when the customer feels it is required.

Listen for the requirements. It is a story you can’t afford to miss.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and corporate trainer that specializes in helping businesses and individuals accelerate their leadership, their team, and their success. He is a five-time author and some of his work includes, #CustServ The Customer Service Culture, and Forgotten RespectNavigating A Multigenerational Workforce. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

Dennis Gilbert on Google+


Search This Website

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Blog (Filter) Categories

Follow me on Twitter

Assessment Services and Tools

Strategic, Competency, or Needs Assessments, DiSC Assessments, 360 Feedback, and more. Learn more