BUSINESS MANAGEMENT - LISTENING and LEARNING

This is the 22nd of a series of newsletters published on Business Management and Management Skills. Not all topics will apply to your business, but each section will be beneficial to establish company goals and objectives. By reading and studying these newsletter articles, you’re taking the first step in achieving your goals.

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As a manager, you must be able to congratulate, console, confront, motivate, and teach your employees in a variety of ways that increase their learning and solidify your relationship with the entire organization. There are two “secrets” to effective communication:

Listen closely to people when they are speaking.
Notice their individual differences.

Good listening is a skill that requires practice. It does not come naturally. Don’t try to formulate your answer while the question is still being asked. Wait and pay attention. When advantageous, ask them to please restate a portion of their case. This shows that you are truly considering what they have to say. Talk to your employees and customers frequently to learn their communication style. Observing them regularly will help you become familiar with their individual mannerisms, and their body language. Being alert and respectful to cultural differences is especially important here. Managers who listen well set a positive example for their employees and provide a foundation for a strong relationship. “A mind is like a parachute - it works best when it is open!”

Just as everyone tends to communicate differently, learning styles are often unique too. In order to improve learning, it’s essential that you be aware of each individual’s learning preferences. This requires some degree of sensitivity to others and the ability to effectively use different presentation methods.

Some individuals may learn best by having a manager communicate information verbally in a step-by-step manner, while others might learn best by observing the manager demonstrating it. Finally, some individuals may learn best by experimenting on their own without interference of a manager’s demonstration or verbal instruction. You can begin to recognize these differences by listening and observing responses to your attempts at communication. “I hear, and I imagine; I see, and I understand; I do, and I remember forever!”

The challenge is for you to communicate with respect to each individual’s learning style. The employees often reciprocate this respect as they pay closer attention to what you are communicating. As a result, the employer-employee relationship grows stronger and the likelihood of success within your organization is expanded. Remember - your success is dependent upon your ability to get others to do as you desire.

Mike Holt’s Comment: This newsletter article was extracted from Mike Holt’s Business Management and Management Skills’ Workbook. Watch for our next newsletter, and as always, we invite your comments and feedback. Send us your real-life experiences. We value your opinions and participation. Please respond to Barbara at bjparks@atlantic.net. And… be sure to visit Mike Holt’s Website at www.mikeholt.com

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