Are You Listening?

I hosted a webcast earlier this week for a group of military officers who are preparing to transition from the military to careers in Corporate America.

successful african american insurance broker meeting client in office

During the session, our discussion turned to how to ask insightful questions during an interview and truly listen to a hiring manager’s response. A question was posed: How do I better listen to the hiring manager’s response to my question? This is such a critical part of the interview and of any conversation, for that matter! Being a good listener is hard to do and takes practice. The good news is, you can practice anywhere. At work. At home. At the grocery store. On a plane. Here are a couple of ideas to consider the next time you are in a conversation.

  • Focus on what someone is saying, not what you are going to say next. The tell-tale sign of someone who is not listening well is their immediate desire to jump in and turn the conversation back to themselves.
  • Show genuine interest and listen to learn. Learn about that person and what they are saying. Respond by asking questions to learn more, not interjecting how your situation is better/worse, etc. Resist the urge to turn the conversation to yourself. Let your interest be your guide in how to respond when it’s your turn to talk.
  • Engage in actively processing what you are hearing. This step is particularly difficult, because if you are working to process and remember what someone is saying, you are not thinking about what to say next. For most of us, this is not natural.

The morning after the webcast, I read a blog post on HRB.org that was apropos considering the question I received the night before. You can read the article here. The authors give additional insight and tips on being a good listener.

Best,
Pete Van Epps