All good project leaders should have a good relationship with their people and project stakeholders, but sometimes cultural differences make it a little harder.
In Spain, for example, people look in the face of the other person when speaking, while in some Asian countries they consider it offensive to look into the face or eyes of the person you are talking to all the time.
Listening is such a routine project activity that few people think of developing the skill. Yet when you know how to really listen, you increase your ability to acquire and retain knowledge and understand and influence your team members and project stakeholders.
Listening is hard work. Unlike hearing, it demands total concentration. It is an active search for meaning, while hearing is passive. Try to listen with these questions in mind:
- What's the speaker saying?
- What does it mean?
- How does it relate to what was said before?
- What point is the speaker trying to make?
- How can I use the information the speaker is giving me?
- Does it make sense?
- Am I getting the whole story?
- Are the points being supported?
- What does this relate to what I already I know?
- Pay attention to the person and the message.
- Create rapport.
- Share meaning.