Powerfully listening, or “active listening” is not a practice we talk about in the role of a proposal manager.  We focus on what, and how, and the why. We forget that the proposal team is made up of real people, who deserve to feel valued for their contribution and inspired to bring even better ideas.By listening to your team, you createan atmosphereof respect and collaboration, giving your team the freedom to create and develop solutions.

What is active listening?

“Active listening is a communication technique that is usedin counseling, training, and conflict resolution. It requires that the listener fully concentrate, understand, respond and then remember what is being said.[1]”  Wikipedia

The benefits of active listening include:

  • Builds relationships – Your team memberfeels respected, free to contribute, and engaged. They will also understand other perspectives.
  • Improves productivity – Both you and your team will retain more details of the meeting. Everyone will make fewer mistakes and will be able to understand how his or hercontribution affects the proposal.
  • Builds cooperation– The team member you are listening to will feel engaged and free to express their concerns. It also defuses any anger or defensiveness. In turn, they are more willing to listen to you and understand your viewpoint.
  • Boosts confidence– Your team will have more confidence in the process and the team’s success.
  • Grow your knowledge – You might find you expand your own knowledge and understanding.

When active listening, you absorb and understand what the other person is saying. You have more understanding and empathy to the other person’s point of view.

How to engage in active listening

  • Put your thoughts onthe subject to the side. Too often, we anticipate what the other person is going to say and are already planning our answer. Instead, just breath and listen with no pre-conceived thoughts
  • Focus on the person’s face or, if a conference call, their voice.
  • Take regular deep breaths.
  • Let pauses in the conversation happened. Too often we are uncomfortable with silence and want to fill the gap. Let the speaker fill them.
  • Give verbal or physical acknowledgments– such as nodding your head, or using “go on,” or “what else?”
  • Pay attention to your body language. Are you leaning forward? Are your eyes focused on their face? Are your arms uncrossed? Do this even if you are on a conference call. Your voice and energy will reflect your body posture.
  • Let the speaker finish. Then ask your question but frame it as an open question. By doing so, youcreatespace for the speaker to contribute a solution.
  • Use a notepadto jot down notes or keywords– but keep it to a minimum.
  • If you find yourself drifting off, take a deep breath and bring your focus back to the speaker.

Through active listening, you will build a stronger team where respect and collaboration can occur. Plus, you will make you and your team more productive in creating a winning proposal.

 

Sources:

The Benefits of Active Listing, Pen andThe Pad by Rose Mathews, Nov 21, 2016

5 Surprising Benefits of Being a Great Listener, by Marcel Schwantes, Inc. Magazine

11 Ways that Active Listening Can help Your Relationships, Susan Krauss Whitbourne Ph.D., Psychology Today, March 13, 2012

Through active listening, you will build a stronger team where respect and collaboration can occur. Plus, you will make you and your team more productive in creating a winning proposal.

Jeannette K. Waldie © 3/12/18

Sources:

The Benefits of Active Listing, Pen and The Pad by Rose Mathews, Nov 21, 2016

5 Surprising Benefits of Being a Great Listener, by Marcel Schwantes, Inc. Magazine

11 Ways that Active Listening Can help Your Relationships, Susan Krauss Whitbourne Ph.D., Psychology Today, March 13, 2012