Effective Listening: The Dingbat Dilemma
Remember when TV's Archie Bunker
said, "The reason you don't understand me, Edith, is because
I'm talkin' to you in English and you're listenin' in dingbat!"
Too often we, like Edith, miss the mark in the way we listen.
Do you have any of these faulty listening habits?
misunderstood a request and lost points
boss asked you for information about a project. You
with reams of data. She wanted talking points.
perceived as a poor listener because you frequently interrupt
the speaker. Why?
can’t wait to defend your position or get your point
run out of patience, and you want to jump in with
formulated a reply before you heard the end of a thought.
response addressed the wrong issue. You
heard: “I’m excited about this new project idea …
You missed: “ … but our attorneys will never
go for it.”
good listening is crucial to career success, why aren’t we good
We make assumptions about what they mean.
thinking about our agenda instead of theirs.
mentally rehearsing our answers.
have emotional reactions that sidetrack us.
long-winded. Our brain gets full, and we take mental excursions.
is a checklist to help you solve the dilemma:
DEMONSTRATE YOU ARE LISTENING
multi-tasking and pay attention.
non-verbal cues such as eye contact, leaning forward and head
verbal cues such as “mmhmm” and “I see.”
for sharing that. It’s new information for me.”
EVALUATE WHAT THEY SAY
- Are you overreacting to trigger
words such as “this project has
they being emotional? You may need to get in step.
sounds as though this is important to you.”
must have been upsetting for you.”
your focus by taking a few notes.
is the their main message? Their point of view?
are they saying that you need to know?
are they saying this?
do they want?
in doubt don’t make assumptions. Ask for specifics.When is “as soon as possible?” Tomorrow? Next week?
- “Can you
tell me more about that?”
will you proceed?”
follow up questions for clarification.
are the options?”
you give me an example?”
me be clear. You want these three things … “
is what I heard … “.
these tips will help you be a more effective listener so that you
avoid the “Dingbat Dilemma” .
The Prescott Group