Don’t Forget to Talk AND Listen

During a recent series of training days across the country a common theme emerged. It was that the two things that people found most challenging when engaging face to face was to a) talk about things in a manner that all stakeholders can understand and b) stop talking and listen. As experts in our field these are often the two topics that people find the toughest.

Here are a few tips to help:

  1. To simplify your words:
    • Write down your typical explanation of the problem. Does it use jargon or acronyms?
    • Hand it over to somebody who doesn’t work on the project. Do they get it?
    • Are there simpler words you can use to replace the current ones?
  2. Learning to listen:
    • Write down notes to really take in what the other person is saying.
    • Check back with them, “I believe you are saying…..”
    • Don’t use listening as a chance to reload your argument.
    • At first seek to understand.

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