Hone Your Listening Skills During the Pandemic

Many work teams who were not previously adept in remote working and video conferencing have been through a trial by fire as they rapidly adjusted to function within the social distancing requirements of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to Dr. Anita Sanchez, one skill that has emerged as crucial for team success in these times is listening.

“Listening is a basic business skill,” she says. “It’s a requirement for achieving healthy working relationships. And during the pandemic, it has proven to be the greatest gift you can give yourself and your team.”

In her corporate trainings, Anita weaves indigenous practices into the teachings of Carl Rogers’ “5 Reflective Listening Skills”:

  1. Attending behavior – Be both physically present (attentive) and internally present (undistracted).
  2. Acknowledgement – This involves verbal and non-verbal behaviors that signal we are tuned in: i.e., “Yes, that is interesting,” nodding.
  3. Door openers – These are encouragements to the person to share what they wish to share. The key here, though, is that door openers are not direct questions.
  4. Silence – Turn down or turn off the volume on your own thoughts. Don’t speak; instead, allow space for the speaker to share. This is the art of extending your awareness and attention to others.
  5. Reflectively respond – This element is often skipped, resulting in miscommunication.  As the listener, you send back the core facts and feelings of the other’s message to convey to the speaker that you get it.

These five reflective listening skills wrapped in empathy can be the key to maintaining and growing healthy communication and relationships with those at home, at work, and in our community.

“Through listening,” Anita explains, “you have an opportunity to hear what others are committed to, and to align with their commitment to create positive momentum through action. Hear what needs to be healed from the past, respond to issues in the present, and create the most positive possible future.” If you want healthy relationships at home and at work, “listening” is the place to start building a strong foundation.

About Anita: Anita Sanchez, Ph.D., Aztec and Mexican-American, is a transformational leadership consultant, speaker, coach and author of the international best-selling book, “The Four Sacred Gifts: Indigenous Wisdom for Modern Times,” available in paperback, hardcover, e-book, and audiobook from Simon & Schuster. She bridges indigenous teachings with the latest science to inspire and equip women and men to enjoy meaningful, empowered lives and careers. With four decades of experience coaching and training executives and their teams in dozens of Fortune 500 companies, governmental groups and non-governmental agencies, Anita is an established leader in global organizational change initiatives. She is a member of the Transformational Leadership Council with luminaries such as Jack Canfield, Marianne Williamson and John Gray, as well as the Association of Transformational Leaders, the Evolutionary Business Council, and serves on the Boards of the Bioneers organization and the Pachamama Alliance. Anita holds a Ph.D. in Organizational Development from the University of Colorado, Denver. She resides in the mountains outside of Boulder, CO with her husband and youngest son. For more information and to download the free song that is based on the book, visit www.FourSacredGifts.com. For information on Anita’s diversity, inclusion, and unconscious bias training, see consulting website www.SanchezTennis.com.

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