Accenture provides a wide variety of training and workshops to our employees. In this blog, we share with you some techniques derived from a workshop that takes the fundamentals of improvisational performing and applies them to business scenarios. In improv, there is no script – much like in life. Therefore you must listen very carefully to capture as much information as possible to have a successful scene (or meeting, call, etc.). Below are five tips for you to consider to improve your listening skills.
Focus on the person talking. If you can’t physically hear him or her, move a little closer or ask him or her to speak up. Don’t multitask. Remove distractions, like your cell phone, when possible.
Listen holistically. While listening to someone, pay attention to his/her tone and body language. Is he or she excited? Concerned? Sometimes body language contradicts what a person says. If you see unexplained, contradictory body language, like crossed arms, or eye rolls, probe a little. See if there is a concern that hasn’t been communicated.
Repeat what you hear. Sometimes saying something out loud helps you understand and retain it better. Repetition is how many actors memorize their lines, and how improvisers alert their fellow cast mates to important information to move the scene forward.
Examine for clarity. If you are not sure you heard something correctly, or if you need more detail, ask for it.
Confirm. At the end of a conversation, provide a short recap, including your action items and confirm that you understand. This helps set expectations and prevents confusion.
Are you a great listener? Share your tips in the comments section below. For more insights on the importance of listening, read our complete IWD 2015 #ListenLearnLead research.