Improving Listening

Many times when we listen we do not hear what is being said to us (see Figures 6-3 and 6-4). It is possible to concentrate on what is being said for only a small portion of the time. There are several things to remember: Don't interrupt, put the speaker at ease, appear interested, cut out distractions, and periodically sum up what was said.

Don't Interrupt

One of the most disruptive things that can be done while someone is trying to communicate a message is to interrupt the speaker. This stops the speaker's chain of thought and makes him or her feel that you are not interested in what is being said. The offended feeling on the part of the sender of the message may be enough to make the person angry

Figure 6-3. The manager's time.

80% of time is spent in communicating Half of communicating time is spent listening

Most people recall 50% of what they hear immediately after

After two months 25% is recalled

Communicating (80% of time'

Communicating (80% of time'

Other tasks

(20% Other of time) tasks

Half of communication is listening

Communicating (80% of time)

Other tasks

(20% Other of time) tasks

Communicating (80% of time)

time spent

time spent

Figure 6-4. Diminishing levels of understanding.

Top Management 100%

Vice President 66% General Management 55% Plant Manager 40% Foreman 30% Worker 20%

if it is done repeatedly. Eventually, this will reduce the effectiveness of the communication. There are times when this is used as a tactic. If a meeting is going in a direction that you do not like, sometimes by repeatedly interrupting you can get the speaker so upset that the meeting can be postponed, giving you enough time to gather information to make the meeting go along a proper course.

Put the Speaker at Ease

Many times the speaker in a meeting is nervous and uncomfortable in the speaking role. To encourage the speaker you can make comments before and during the meeting to make it known that you are looking forward to what he or she has to say and what an important contribution the speaker will be making to the meeting. During the presentation, nod your head in agreement and smile at some of the speaker's comments. When something is said that you agree with, voice your positive comments, if possible. All of this creates a feeling of confidence and trust in the speaker.

It is important that project managers have good presentation skills. Project managers are frequently called upon to make formal and informal presentations to other managers, clients, stakeholders, and the like. Project managers must be able to convey the information in a way that is comprehensible to their audience.

Appear Interested

Creating the impression that you are very interested in what is being said will do a lot to make the speaker feel at ease with the audience and will also help you retain more of the information that is being sent by the speaker.

Cut Out Distractions

Listening can be improved greatly by improving the environment where the communication is taking place. Noisy distracting places severely inhibit communications, while quiet places with no telephones and a closed door will greatly improve them. Asking all of the attendees to turn off cellular phones and pagers or at least put them on their vibrating mode will help to improve the environment.

Periodically Sum Up What Was Said

Listening can be further improved by periodically summarizing what has been said. By doing this you are essentially repeating what was said, but in a different way. All of the attendees in the meeting will hear again what was said, and their retention will be higher. Summarizing also has the side benefit of making the speaker relax.

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Project Management Made Easy

Project Management Made Easy

What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.

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