Listen carefully for interview success

 Listen carefully for interview success

Job Search: Are You Sitting Comfortably? Then I’ll begin!

Advice from Wendy Smith. Wendy is a Career and Life Coach helping you find fresh perspectives on life and your career.  You can book a FREE coaching session or find out more at this link

Listen carefully for interview success. Many, many, moons ago there was a radio programme called “Listen with Mother.” It was meant for very small children.  As I remember it, there were songs, poems and always a story. And the story always started with the words; “Are you sitting comfortably, then I’ll begin…” It was a call to action and to our complete attention – we had to listen well. To be able to listen well is a skill.  And it is a skill that you need in job search at interviews.

What matters at interviews is that you really hear the question asked. It is all too easy to hear part of a question and jump to a conclusion about the right answer. If you listen carefully you will hear that whole question and it may be something different. You need to answer the question that was asked.

It is all to easily, particularly when you are nervous, to hear headline words – keywords in effect. Then those become the words to which you respond. You hear the word “experience,” for example! Then you don’t even stop to think, you just pour it all out.  You don’t take in that the question was about a particular part of your experience.  Or perhaps it was about how your experience as relevant to this role.

So, try to settle any nerves before you go into the interview room. There is relaxation exercise you can use at this link.  Then be determined to really listen carefully to all the words in each question.  Take the time needed to put together a response in your mind before speaking.  If you need to, ask for clarification.  As an interviewer I’ve had times when I didn’t understand the question a fellow panel member was asking either.

Listen carefully, pace yourself and then answer the question that was asked!  The extra time you take will make you a far more impressive candidate. Remember how you answer will tell the panel about your judgement and your decision making.

Career coaches and life  coaches like me are around to help you thrive and succeed in challenging times. We can help you prepare for that key interview. Get in touch at this link – I would like to discuss how I can help you.

Wendy Smith is a career consultant, life coach and business coach with depth of experience in helping people lead happier lives and feel more fulfilled. She has worked in management as well as coaching and personal development, as well as starting up her own businesses. That means she is equally at home helping clients find a new career direction, starting-up a new business or dealing with life’s more challenging personal issues. 

Need help finding work, with problems at work, at home or with relationships? Book a FREE coaching session with Wendy or find out more at this link

 

Active Listening and Good Communication

Active Listening and Good Communication

Building relationships at work and at home depends upon good communication. This includes the ability to really “hear” what the other person Active Listening and good communicationis trying to say. if you practice the skill of active listening, you will be able to communicate better.

In coaching we spend a lot of time thinking about active listening – for us it is a core skill. Active listening is hearing with engagement. In active listening you work to not just to hear the words, but to understand exactly what the other person is trying to say.

Active listening helps the other person to feel appreciated and respected. It helps them to have trust.

Active listening is a skill that requires practice but here are some tips to help you on your way.

  1. Position – be somewhere where you can see and be seen by your hearer for important messages. Talking one to one, or in small groups, sit up straight or lean forward slightly to show your attentiveness through body language.
  2. Maintain comfortable eye contact. Again one to one and in a small group, you need to judge the night degree of eye contact. Give good warm “face”,  and don’t stare them down or threaten with your glare. Remember, acceptable eye contact changes with culture. In some cultures it is very rude indeed to look straight into someone’s eyes.
  3. Minimize external distractions. Reduce external noise. Turn off the TV in the corner of the room. Ask people to stop what else they are doing and switch off your mobile phone. If someone comes to talk to you in your office at work, it is better to ask them to wait outside than to go on writing whilst they are in the room.  Writing on looks arrogant and it sends a clear message about what you think of their status relative to yours.
  4. Respond appropriately – when someone is talking to you show that you understand. You can murmur (“uh-huh” and “um-hmm”) and nod. Raise your eyebrows. Say words such as “Really” and “Interesting,” as well as more direct prompts: “What did you do then?” and “What did she say?” All these things show that you are interested and encourage the other person to keep talking.
  5. Focus solely on what the speaker is saying. If you concentrate properly on what someone is saying to you, your response will usually come naturally. If there is a silence – it usually means something. Silences often follow important statements, they give us breathing and thinking time. Don’t spend thinking time on what to say, spend it on reflection about what has been said. Then you will find the conversation usually flows.
  6. Be aware of what is happening inside you. You may find your own thoughts intruding as you try to listen. This can happen particularly if what is being said touches your own emotions. But let your thoughts go and keep refocusing back on the speaker, Time afterwards to reflect on what this meant for you.
  7. Suspend judgement. Wait until the speaker has finished before forming your opinion, even if they are complaining. In fact, it is even more important,if you think you are likely to disagree with what they are saying . Take the time to take in all that they have said before you give an opinion.
  8. Don’t jump to tell them what you did last time. People don’t want to be thought of as just another number, case or employee. Treat each person you speak to as an individual meriting individual consideration. There will be a time to use past examples but judge their use with care – packaged solutions do not blend well with feelings.
  9. Be engaged Ask questions for clarification. Once again, wait until the speaker has finished. Don’t interrupt their train of thought. After you ask questions, paraphrase their point to make sure you didn’t misunderstand. You could start with: “So you’re saying…” This shows that you are really listening.

You gotta practice

Practice your active listening skill, particularly handling silence. Learn to use it to better understand what is being said to you. As your listening skills develop, so will your speaking skills and your ability to hold a conversation. You will be surprised how active listening draws people to you. People warm to those who take the trouble to really listen to them.

Wendy Smith, Career, life and Business Coach
Wendy Smith, Principal Coach, WiseWolf Life and Career Coaching

Wendy Smith is a career consultant, life coach and business coach with depth of experience in organisational development, management, coaching and personal development. That experience means she is equally at home helping clients find a new career direction, starting-up new businesses or dealing with life’s more challenging personal issues. You can contact her at wendy@wisewolfcoaching.com

Wendy has written a little eBook on how to get on with your boss and a book on job search – you can find all her books on Amazon at this link

         

Listening at interviews

Listening at interviews

Listening at interviews is important. To be able to listen well is a skill.  And it is a skill that you need in job search at interviews.

What matters at interviews is that you really hear the question asked. That question is the one you answer.

It is all to easily, particularly when you are nervous, to hear headline words. You hear just the “keywords” and respond to them.  For example, you hear the word “experience,”! Then, you don’t stop to think, you just pour out all your experience.  You don’t take in that the question was about a particular part of your experience.  Or perhaps, more importantly, you don’t answer a question about how your experience is relevant to this role.

So, try to settle any nerves before you go into the interview room. There is relaxation exercise you can use at this link.  Then to determine to listen carefully to all the words in the question. Take the time needed to put together a response in your mind before speaking.  If you need to, ask for clarification. Much better that then to take a wild guess and give an inappropriate answer.

Listen carefully, pace yourself and answer the question asked!  The extra time you take will make you a far more impressive candidate. Remember how you answer will tell the panel a lot the qualities of both your judgement and your decision making ability.

If you need advice preparing for an important interview, then get in touch – working with a career coach can make all the difference.

Wendy Smith is a career consultant, life coach and business coach with depth of experience in management, coaching and personal development. That experience means she is equally at home helping clients find a new career direction, starting-up new businesses or dealing with life’s more challenging personal issues. You can contact her at wendy@wisewolfcoaching.com

Wendy has written a little eBook on how to get on with your boss and a book on job search – you can find her books on Amazon at this link

         

Being a good leader; communication and active listening

Every piece of advice you read about how to be a good leader talks about the need for good communication – an able leader is an able communicator! Yes, quite right. But communication is a two-way process. For any leader the ability to listen is right up there with the ability to deliver the message. And listening is more the just hearing a sound and knowing what the words usually mean.

In coaching we spend a lot of time thinking about active listening – for us it is a core skill. Active listening is hearing with engagement. In active listening you work to not just to hear the words, but to understand exactly what the other person is trying to say.

For coaches active listening is important not only because we need to understand but also because when we listen fully, the client feels appreciated and respected – it helps them to have trust.

Surely as a leader you want, just as much as coach, to be trusted and in due course to inspire your organization.

Active listening is a skill and it requires practice but here are some tips to help you on your way.

  1. Position Be somewhere where you can see and be seen by your hearer for important messages. Talking one to one or in small groups, sit up straight or lean forward slightly to show your attentiveness through body language.
  2. Maintain comfortable eye contact. Again one to one and in small group you need to judge the night degree of eye contact. Give good warm “face”,  and don’t stare them down or threaten with your glare. Remember, acceptable eye contact changes with culture. In some cultures it is very rude indeed to look straight into someone’s eyes.
  3. Minimize external distractions. Reduce external noise. Turn off the TV in the corner of the room. Ask people to stop what else they are doing and switch off your mobile phone. If someone comes to talk to you in your office, it is better to ask them to wait outside than to go on writing whilst they are in the room.  Writing on looks arrogant and it sends a clear message about what you think of their status relative to yours.
  4. Respond appropriately When someone is talking to you show that you understand. You can murmur (“uh-huh” and “um-hmm”) and nod. Raise your eyebrows. Say words such as “Really” and “Interesting,” as well as more direct prompts: “What did you do then?” and “What did she say?”. All these things show that you are interested and encourage the other person to keep talking.
  5. Focus solely on what the speaker is saying. If you concentrate properly on what someone is saying to you, your response will usually come naturally. If there is a silence – it usually means something. Silences often follow important statements, they give us breathing and thinking time. Don’t spend thinking time on what to say, spend it on reflection about what has been said, then you will find the conversation usually flows.
  6. Be aware of what is happening inside you. You may find your own thoughts intruding as you try to listen. This can happen particularly if what is being said touches your own emotions. But let your thoughts go for not and keep refocusing back on the speaker, Time afterwards to reflect on what this meant for you.
  7. Suspend judgement Wait until the speaker has finished before forming your opinion, even if they are complaining. In fact, it is even more important,if you think you are likely to disagree with what they are saying . Take the time to take in all that they have said before you give an opinion.
  8. Don’t jump to tell them what you did last time. People don’t want to be thought of as just another number, case or employee. Treat each person you speak to as an individual meriting individual consideration. There will be a time to use past examples but judge their use with care – packaged solutions do not blend well with feelings.
  9. Be engaged Ask questions for clarification, once again, wait until the speaker has finished. Don’t interrupt their train of thought. After you ask questions, paraphrase their point to make sure you didn’t misunderstand. You could start with: So you’re saying…” This shows that you are really listening.
  10. Practice your active listening skills, particularly handling silence. Learn to use it to better understand what is being said to you. As your listening skills develop, so will your speaking skills and your ability to hold a conversation. You will be surprised how active listening draws people to you. People warm to those who take the trouble to really listen to them.

 

Wendy Mason is a Life and Career Coach.  She helps people have the confidence they need to be successful at work and to change career while maintaining a good work/life balance. You can email her at wendymason@wisewolfcoaching.com

Registered with Life Coach Directory

Other  articles by Wendy