27 October 2017

Basic Listening Skills for Pharmacy 1 year

 Basic Listening Skills

Basic Listening Skills: Introduction, Self-Awareness, Active Listening, Becoming an Active Listener,
Listening in Difficult Situations

 Basic Listening Skills

"The basic building block of good communications is the feeling that every human being is unique and of value."

-Author Unknown

Good listeners are rare these days. Studies have shown that most listeners retain less than 50% of what they hear. Imagine what that means when it comes to a conversation that you might have with your boss, a colleague, or a customer. If you speak for ten minutes, chances are that you have only heard about half of that conversation – and so have they. No wonder mis communications happen so frequently!

Yet listening is one of the most vital skills that you need if you want to communicate effectively. Listening allows you to ‘decode’ the messages that you are receiving, butit also allows you to help others communicate better. When you aren’t certain of the message that you have heard the first time, listening well allows you to ask the questions that will clarify the message.

Of course, listening is important in more arenas than in the work place. We listen for multiple reasons:

·         To build relation ships
·         To understand others
·         To be entertained
·         To learn
·         To show empathy
·         To gather information

With as much as listening can do for us, it’s obvious that we can all benefit from improving our listening skills. We can become more productive at work, more connected in our relationships, and more efficient in everything that we do. But listening also helps us to persuade and negotiate with others. It can help us avoid misunderstandings and can just make life more conflict-free in general. All of these are very good reasons for learning more about how to be a better listener.


An important tool for becoming a good listener is becoming aware of your own behavior, feelings, and habits when listening. Do you know whether or not you are a good listener? Are you only a good listener in certain situations, like when listening to a friend who is upset? Or can you also listen in a tense situation when you have to communicate with someone who is angry, stressed, or expressing an opposing opinion to your own?

Take time to become aware of your own listening behavior indifferent scenarios. Atwork, at home, with friends, with strangers, or with other groups that you communicate with, notice the following:

·         Your body language–how are you standing or sitting? Are you tense or relaxed? In an open position or a closed one?
·         Do you make eye contact? Do you keep it? Or do you look away, look down, or turn your eyes to other people or things in your environment?
·         Are you following every word? Could you repeat what was just said verbatim? Or is your mind wandering off to lunch, that email you need to write, or that phone call you just had?
·         Are you planning what you will say in return?

All of these behaviors make it difficult to be a good listener. You may be sending the message to the speaker that their message is unimportant–or worse, that they are unimportant. As you practice better listening skills, you’ll need to be able to recognize when you’re straying back to these old behaviors. Being self-aware will let you self – correct and get better and better at listening to others.

Active Listening

Becoming a better listener requires improving your active listening skills. What is meant by active listening skills?  Most of us spend at least part of the time that we are listening waiting for the person to stop so that we can have our next turn. This is particularly true when a conversation is heated or when the information we are trying to convey is very important.

Active listening means being as attentive and involved in the conversation during the times that you are listening as when you are speaking. You must learn to be consciously attentive to the words that are being said, but in addition, to the whole message that the other person is attempting to relay to you. In order to do this you must pay close attention to the speaker.

This requires concentration and practice. It means being certain that you either liminate or ignore the distractions surrounding you, and that you don’t spend the whole time coming up with your response to what they are saying. This may sound difficult, but there are some simple tools you can use to make active listening a regular habit.

 Becoming an Active Listener

There are five key aspects of becoming an active listener. You will probably already be employing some of them, but may need to practice others. However, once you are using these tools overtime, you will find that they get easier and easier. Plus, you’ll learn so much about others and have such better conversations that you will be positively rein forced each time you practice.

1.       Pay close attention.
With this step, you learn to give the speaker your undivided attention. But you also let the speaker know that you are listening by using acknowledgements–types of verbal and non-verbal tools that help add proof that you are truly listening.
·         Look the speaker in the eyes
·         Stop any mental chatter
·         Don’t start preparing your response or rebuttal while the other person is talking
·         Make sure your environment doesn’t distract you
·         Notice the speaker’s body language and tone of voice–what are the non-verbal messages telling you?
·         If you are in a group, avoid side conversations
2.       Demonstrate physically that you are listening.
Use non-verbal and verbal signals that you are listening to the speaker attentively.
·         Nod from time to time, when appropriate
·         Use appropriate facial expressions
·         Monitor your own body language. Be sure youre main open and relaxed rather than closed and tense.
·         Use small comments like uh-huh, yes, right.
3.       Check for understanding.
As we learned in the last chapters, our personal experiences, our perceptions, and our feelings can all influence the way that we hear. It is possible for the message to get mistranslated or misinterpreted, so that we hear a message that was not intended. Before responding, it’s important to check for understanding using these tools.
·         Use reflecting and paraphrasing. Check that you heard the message correctly by saying things like “what I hear you saying is….” or “If I’m hearing you correctly, you’re saying…..” or “I think you’ re talking about….”.
·         Ask questions that will help clarify the speaker’s meaning. Suggestions include things like, “Can you tell me more about…..? ” or  “What did you mean when you said…? ”or “I think you’re  saying…is that right?”
·         Summarize what you’ve heard occasionally–don’t wait until the end or you might not remember exactly what was said.
4.       Don’t interrupt!
There is nothing good that comes from interrupting the speaker. You will only be limiting your chance of understanding the message because you won’t hear it all–and because the speaker will get frustrated!
5.      Respond Appropriately.
When you are actively listening, you are showing your respect for the speaker, as well as gaining the information that you need to form your response. Once you have that information and have clarified it, it’s time to for my reply. When expressing your thoughts:
·         Be honest and open
·         Be respectful
·         Be thorough
Remember too that you are modeling excellent behavior for others when you use active listening. Don’t be surprised to hear others start to use clarifying questions or reflecting phrases as well–which would be a good thing for everyone concerned!

Listening in Difficult Situations
Listening is particularly difficult when you are in a heated or emotionally charged situation. In order for your communication to be successful and productive, you may need to employ some additional tools in order to listen to others and to allow for the exchange of information despite your feelings.
Some tips include:
Ø  If possible, suggest that you move the discussion to a private location with no distractions.
Ø  If tension is high, start by agreeing on what your goal of the discussion will be. Are you resolving a problem? Learning about what happened in a difficult situation? Deciding roles in an important project? Determining how to proceed in order to reach a deadline? Come up with a common goal that you can both agree to work towards and that you can both refer back to should the conversation go off-topic.
Ø  If you need to, set ground rules. These could include agreeing that you won’t bring uphold events again, that you will keep personal comments out of the discussion, or that you will both keep your voices down.
Ø  While listening, remind yourself of the active listening guidelines. Breathe slowly in and out in order to remain calm.

Ø  If you can’t seem to pay attention, try repeating to yourself fin your mind every word that the other person says. Then you are ‘hearing’ the message twice and it has a better chance of getting through.

24 October 2017

Four Types of Communication Styles

Four Types of Communication Styles

Communication Styles

Each one of us has a style of communicating that is unique. Some of us are talkative and extroverted while others are quiet and reserved. Some of us are outspoken while others are less likely to share their opinions in public. Still others of us are formal and direct while others are informal and like to take our time getting to the main point. So how do these different styles of communication impact us in the workplace?
Text Box: Communication style refers to the choices we tend to make when communicating to others. It involves two basic dimensions: the assertiveness level of our communication and the emotiveness level of our communication. We also use different styles depending on with whom we are communicating.
Differences in communication style can lead to barriers in communication success.
When you work with someone who has a decidedly different communication style from your own, that difference can act as one of the barriers to effective communication. You may feel that someone is being aloof and cold while they feel that they are being quick and business-like. Or you might feel that someone is being too analytical and detailed, while they feel that you aren’t recognizing the importance of the small things that can make a big difference.
There is away to overcome these differences, however. It involves learning the basic characteristics of the different communication styles and how they influence the context in which your communication is happening. If you can learn to understand the other person’s communication style and how it is manifesting itself in the way they communicate, you are learning your audience and what they need in order to understand your message. You can then encode your message in a way that they will be more likely to be able to decode it, thereby increasing the chance that your message will be delivered successfully.
To put it another way, imagine that you are in a foreign country. You can stumble about, using your own words for things and trying to communicate, with the result being that one or both parties may become frustratedand with very little chance that you will get the result that you want.
But if you can speak the language of the person you want to speak with, suddenly you can communicate. You can ask for what you need, give them the information they need, and hopefully achieve the result that is the original aim of your message. When you employ this communication tool, you simply make the choice to communicate to your audience in their ‘native tongue.’
So how do you start? You begin by studying the four basic communication styles and how they relate to each other. You identify your own personal communication style and what particular barriers you might face when communicating with the other styles. Then you learn some simple tools you can use to enhance your communication with others, no matter what communication style they are.
The Communication Styles Matrix
There are many different models that describe the ways in which we communicate. But one very useful model is based on the work of Dr. Eileen Russo. Her matrix is displayed in Figure 8 below. It shows that there are two different dimensions in communication styles: the level of expressiveness and the level of assertiveness.
Figure8: The Communication Styles Matrix
Each quadrant in Figure8 represents a different communication style. People can fall anywhere within each quadrant, becoming more uniformly one style over the others as they move further from the center.
Text Box: The assertive communication styles tell others what to do while the less assertive styles ask others what should be done.
The more expressive styles show emotion while the less expressive styles refrain from showing it.
Notice that the more assertive communication styles tend to ‘tell’ others what to do. The less assertive communication styles tend to ‘ask’ others what should be done. The more expressive communication styles tend to show their emotions in their face, speech, and tone. The less expressive styles will either not express their emotions or will work to hide them. The resulting four basic communication styles are shown in Figure9. In the following sections, we’ll look at the basic characteristics of each communication styles and some things you can do to help you communication well with each type.
Low Expressiveness + Low Assertiveness Systematic
Low Expressiveness + High Assertiveness = Direct
High Expressiveness + High Assertiveness=Spirited
High Expressiveness + Low Assertiveness=Considerate

Figure 9: The Four Basic Communication Styles
1.   Direct Communication Style
As indicated in the communication style matrix, people with the direct communication style are highly assertive and not expressive. They tend to tell others what to do instead of asking others what they think should be done, and they will not easily show emotions in their communications with others. Their communication style is meant to be expedient, though others may not always see it that way. They may appear terse and cold to others, who might take their style of communicating personally.
Text Box: People with direct communication styles are the ‘go-getters’ in the group. They will work hard and fast and will brook few questions or distractions.
These people need to use caution to avoid appearing dictatorial or cold.
If you are a direct style, you could probably use some practice with listening skills.
Direct communicators will try to tell you as little as possible before moving on to the next topic–not because they are trying to be evasive, but because they are trying to save time. They won’t always stop to listen to others, even if the others have something valuable to contribute. They may seem impatient and over bearing at times, but it’s not meant to be personal. They are attempting to focus on results rather than emotions. They will speak their minds, even if it could be off-putting to others. Don’t expect them to talk about their personal livesthey like to keep business and personal issues separate. They don’t back down from conflict, and at times could be seen as being aggressive rather than assertive in the way that they express their opinions.
Tips for Communicating if You Have a Direct Communication Style
·         Make an effort to listen fully to others and avoid interrupting
·         Allow time for ‘chatting’ at the beginning of a meeting
·         Recognize that others may feel the need to express their emotions about topics
·         Recognize that brainstorming can be helpful and not just a ‘time waster’
·         Try to communicate your expectations for how a meeting will gothe length of time, the topics to be covered, and the expected resultsbefore a meeting occurs
·         Take the time to show your appreciation for others’ contributions
·         Don’t u see mail for sensitive or complicated topics
·         Allow time in your schedule for questions and feedback
Tips for Communicating with People with a Direct Communication Style
·         Ask if they have time to talk before jumping in
·         Get to the point quickly– don’t bore them with lots of back ground information
·         Limit ‘chatting’ or conversation that is off-topic
·         Use short, direct sentences
·         Ask for a specific call to action or make a specific request
·         Do not speak in the abstract
·         Only promise what you are certain you can deliver
·         Don’tgiveoraskforinformationaboutpersonalissuesunlesstheyinitiateit
·         Don’t sugar coat  thingsspeak plainly
2.   Spirited Communication Style
People with the spirited communication style are very interested in the ‘big picture’. They are the dreamers, the inventors, and the innovators in the group. Their communication may be full of grand ideas and hyperboles that tend to be very persuasive to others at first.
Text Box: People with the spirited communication style love to flesh out ideas, brainstorm, and talk about the big picture–as long as they get to do a lot of the talking!
Spirited people can have a hard time nailing down the details in their wonderful ideas. They may also have a hard times ticking to an agenda or to one topic.
However, they are not always very good at discussing the details or the exact steps in the process. They will tend to go off on tangent sin their conversations, and like to interject anecdote sin to their dialogues in order to demonstrate or drive home a point.
Keeping to an agenda is sometimes a challenge for those with the spirited communication styles inceboth time management and remaining focuse dare challenges forth is group. Their written or verbal communication may tend to wards the dramatic. While they can be very entertaining, getting them to communicate clearly on specific topics may take the assistance of someone else to guide them through a conversation and keep them on track by bringing them back to the subject at hand.
Tips for Communicating if You Have a Spirited Communication Style
·         When considering new ideas to share, also consider whether or not you have suggestions on how to put those ideas in to action
·         Respect agreed-upon agendas and time limits when in meetings
·         Try to limit your sharing of personal anecdotes that take the group off-topic
·         Make sure you are allowing others to contribute their ideas and suggestionsand that you are listening
·         Be certain any requests you make are clear and that you convey there as on for asking
·         Communicate your appreciation for others’ work and in put
Tips for Communicating with People Who Have a Spirited Communication Style
·         Use an agenda with time limits listed for each topic
·         Praise them in front of other people
·         Learn to gently redirect the conversation back to the topic at hand
·         Understand that they may exaggerate
·         Challenge them to break down their‘ big ideas’ into specific outcomes and steps
·         Reaffirm with them what they have agreed to do
·         Use check-lists or other written reminders as away to help communicate what needs to be done
3.   Systematic Communication Style
Those with a systematic communication style like to focus on facts and details rather than opinions and possibilities. Expect to use and appreciate logic when you communicate with a systematic. They will appreciate facts and analysis rather than the ‘big picture’ ideas that have not yet been proved useful.
Text Box: People with a systematic communication style will focus on facts over opinions. Communication with tangible evidence is best for systematic. They will likely be uncomfortable expressing feelings and will tend to avoid confrontation.
They may be slower to respond to your communication, as they are probably analyzing the situation and constructing a logical, well thought-out response. Charts, graphs and trends are all useful tools for communicating with systematic as well.
Those with a systematic communication style are uncomfortable with expressing their feelings about things and do not like conflict. They may tend to shut down communication rather than dealing with emotional or confrontational situations. If you give them directions, you will need to be very thorough and precise in relaying them.
The more information you can give them, the happier they will be–as long as the information is relevant to the current discussion or is relevant background information.
Tips for Communicating if You Have a Systematic Communication Style
ü  Recognize that not everyone follows linear thought processes and decision-making
ü  Realize that for good working relationships, consideration for others’ feelings is important
ü  Learn to ask qualifying questions that will help you get the information you need
ü  Ask others questions about themselves if you want to build rapport
ü  Make sure you understand the scope of a project so that you don’t waste time collecting information that is not going to be needed
ü  If you need to ask for more time for analysis, be able to explain the benefit of the information you are working on
Tips for Communicating with People with a Systematic Communication Style
        Focus on the facts of the situation rather than individuals’ opinions
        Speak with precision and accuracy rather than generalizations
        Be Organized, on time, and topic when you communicate with them
        Give logical reasons for your actions and for what you ask of them
        Allow Them Time For Research And Analysis Before Decision-making
        Avoid Personal Topics Unless They Open The Conversation
4.   Considerate Communication Style
Those with the considerate communication style are very concerned about the feelings of others. They want to please other people and to be included in her peer group. They like to work with others, help others, and connect to the reason personal level. If there is conflicting your group, they will be the ones to attempt to mediate it. They want everyone to have the chance to speak their minds, have their turns, and receiver recognition for their contribution. They are natural trainers and counselors, and enjoy helping others succeed. They will encourage group collaboration and communication, though they are not always inclined to speak their own minds.
Text Box: People with a considerate communication style will be very interested in listening and in finding out how you and others are doing. They will want everyone to have a chance to speak, but might refrain from expressing their own opinions if they think it will displease others.
This is the major communication challenge for those with the considerate personality style– they may be reluctant to share an opposing opinion, even if it’s important information, because they are concerned about keeping the peace and being liked.
They are also inclined to take direct communication as a personal matter. It’s difficult for them to separate other people's’ opinions about a topic from their opinions about them, and so may feel that an opposing opinion is due to not liking them. There is also the possibility that they will be talked into something in order to preserve the peace rather than standing their ground.
Tips for Communicating if You Have a Systematic Communication Style
Ø Recognize that not everyone follows linear thought processes and decision-making
Ø Realize that for good working relationships,consideration for others’ feelings is important
Ø Learn to ask qualifying questions that will help you get the information you need
Ø Ask others questions about themselves if you want to build rapport
Ø Make sure you understand the scope of a project so that you don’t waste time collecting information that is not going to be needed
Ø If you need to ask for more time for analysis, be able to explain the benefit of the information you are working on
Tips for Communicating with People with a Systematic Communication Style
ü  Focus on the facts of the situation rather than individuals’ opinions
ü  Speak with precision and accuracy rather than generalizations
ü  Be Organized, on time, and topic when you communicate with them
ü  Give logical reasons for your actions and for what you ask of them
ü  Allow Them Time For Research And Analysis Before Decision-making
ü  Avoid Personal Topics Unless They Open The Conversation
Examples of Communication for Each Style
It will take some time and practice to learn exactly what will work in communicating with the people in your work group. Hopefully you recognized the people in your office in the descriptions of the different communication styles in the last section. If not, you can pay more attention to how they communicate with you as a sign of their main communication style. Remember too that not everyone.
It will also take practice for you to become comfortable in altering your own communication style or methods in order to best communicate with others. You will still be inclined to your natural communication style, which is to be expected. It will also be easier to do at first when you have the time to think about your communication ahead of time, such as when writing an email. However, overtime, you will find that you can adjust faster and employ the tools that you need without thinking it out ahead of time.
Direct Style
When communicating with someone who has the direct communication style, the key is to get to the main point of your communication as soon as possible, and to do so in as efficient as manner as possible. The first example below shows the type of communication that will not work with someone who has a direct communication style. In this example, Jane is the one with the direct communication style.
Hi Jane,

I heard from Alex that you landed a new large business account yesterday. He said that you did an excellent job in explaining the company’s benefits to the customer and that you were very professional.
Alex also said that the customer asked for a quote on a new phone system for his existing offices. Have you thought about how you will proceed? Let me know if I can help you get the quote together or if you need any ideas on the configuration. I'd like to get the quote to the later this week if you think you can manage it. That way we would have a good chance of getting the order in for this month’s numbers.
Thanks again, and hope you are having a good Tuesday so far !
What is the main point of the communication? What is there quested action? How much of the communication is superfluous information?
A person with a direct communication style will not necessarily glean what you want them to door by when. They will appreciate the accolade, but they won’t appreciate the personal references or information.

Great job on the new account. I’d like to meet for10-15 minutes tomorrow to discuss strategy and timing. Please let me know if you’d prefer to meet at1:00, 1:30,or2:00pm.

Thank you, Anne
See the difference? The first one does eventually get around to the point, but it is too personal-sounding and doesn’t give a clear request for the direct person respond to. These condone still communicates approval and makes a request, but it does so in much clear way. If it seems curt to you, don’t worry–the direct style person will appreciate it. It’s a perfectly professional communication and there is much less chance form is understanding.
Spirited Style
When communicating with someone who is spirited, it might be hard to even pin them down for communication in the first place. And once you have their attention, keeping it is another matter entirely. You will find that consistency is important in communicating with people who are spirited. If you can get them used to a particular format or method of communication, it will be easier to keep them communicating. This doesn’t mean always choosing email oral ways choosing telephone. But it does mean always using follow-up questions or checking in on a regular basis to see if you are both still on the same page.
Also remember that a person with a spirited style may need more time to brainstorm and discuss ideas than the other communication styles. If you want them to come to the table with decisions already made, be sure to get their buy-in beforehand. Otherwise they may still find the need to discuss something that you already felt was decided.
Finally, you can go a long way towards relationship-building with a spirited style person if you give them the opportunity to shine. Does your team need to make a presentation? Let the spirited person know that you think they would be a good choice to lead. Complimenting them in a public arena is a good choice as well. Here’s an example of a good written communication to a spirited person.

Hi Sally!

I thought your presentation yesterday was fantastic! I enjoyed the way that you had the audience participate in the session.

I think you would be a great choice for the educational component at our next board meeting. The Board of Directors needs some information about local economic trends, but in a way that is not too boring or complicated.

Would you like to have lunch to discuss it? I’m free on Thursday or Friday this week. Let me know if either of those days will work for you.

Thanks so much! George
Why would this communication work for a spirited person? It is enthusiastic, complementary, and would be flattering to Sally. She will be pleased that you noticed her first presentation and more pleased that you would like her to repeat it.
Or course, you’re sure to have a very excited person on your hands at lunch. So be prepared. You could bring an outline of the topics you want to cover at the presentation. Ask for her input and make sure you’ve planned enough time to let her give it. Then help her narrow the ideas down and note them down for her. Sending a follow-up email or note will help ensure that you are both on the same page as well. Remember, the spirited person is very valuable for all their talents and enthusiasm–so with a little structure around your communications you can be successful in communicating without stifling the very qualities they bring to the table.
Systematic Style
When you need to communicate with a person who has the systematic communication style, remember that facts are what to emphasize. Opinions are not going to be very effective. Use logical, linear thinking and communicate in the same way. Step them through your thinking–don’t jump ahead of any steps. It will save you time in the long run if you take the time to explain your argument or thoughts through the first time.
If you need a systematic to make a decision, let data do the talking for you as much as possible. Have charts? Know some trends? Have examples to show how something works? All of these can be useful in communicating with a systematic person. If you are attempting to encourage a systematic to support an idea that is not supported by the data, you will be in for a bit of a challenge. However, you can still get their help if you can logically explain your position.
Remember too that systematic types are not prone to sharing personal information with work colleagues.
You shouldn’t take this personally–it's simply what they prefer. Yet if they do broach a personal subject with you, you can usually take it assign that they feel more comfortable with youth others.
The example of how not to communicate with a direct communication style person is a good example of how not to communicate with someone systematic style as well. You could also avoid phrases like:
       It’s my opinion that…
       I believe that…
       I Feel That…
Instead, try using phrases like:
       The Data Shows That…
       The Trends Show That…
       The results of the tests show…
The chart below gives more suggestions for language that will work better with systematics:

Instead of…                                                                                                             Use…

Next week                                                                                                    Thursday at 3:00p.m.

Text Box: ASAP By tomorrow at noon
In a timely manner                                                                                          Within two weeks

Text Box: They Gail, Amy, and Wes
An upward trend                                                                              An increase of12% over five years

Figure18: Suggestions for Language to Use with Systematics
Considerate Style
To best communicate with someone who is a considerate communication style, remember that the person’s feelings are going to be important. They will listen best when you make them feel as if their feelings are important to you, their opinion is important to you, and that you value them as team member and a contributor. This doesn’t mean that you have to become very emotionally expressive yourself, but showing in interesting them as an individual will go a long way. Why not start your communication with an inquiry into how their child is doing, or how their last vacation was? The small investment of your time can have a great return.
If you have something to communicate that will perhaps be perceived as a critical, you will need to tread cautiously in order to be effective. Let the person know that you appreciate their work, and name the aspects that you find valuable and good. Then note the changes that need to be made, explaining the reason for the changes as much as you can. Smile, and use open body language to let them know that there is nothing personal in what is being said. Whenever possible, use requests instead of imperatives in discussing the needed changes.

For considerate style people, the example of used a show not to speak to a direct style person is actually good one to use for a considerate style. It builds to the point easily, it shows care for the other person, and it makes are question a friendly, personal manner.


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