Careful listening can increase your telephone efficiency. The average speaking rate is 150 to 160 words a minute, but we can think at 600 words a minute which means that only twenty five percent of our mental capacity is required to record what is being said. By using the rest to think about and react to the words instead of thinking about other distractions, we would improve our listening by gathering more information from what is being said.
To let the other person know you are interested and listening, interject with encouraging comments that don’t break the persons flow such as ‘Good point’, ‘Yes’, ‘I see’, ‘Interesting’. This only needs to be done once every three sentences or so otherwise it becomes too much.
If the speaker has wandered off the point or is generally being long winded, you can take charge and bring the conversation back by interrupting with: ‘That’s a good point, and why …’, and steer the conversation back to the point.
What should you be listening for? The way speakers construct their sentences and the frequency that they use certain phrases can tell you a little bit about their personality or what is coming next.
‘By the way …’ – usually indicates that the speaker is going to say something important to them •
‘Before I forget …’ – is similar but is often used near the end of a conversation when the stated purpose already appears to have been accomplished and the speaker will hope your guard is down •
‘To be perfectly honest …’ – such declarations of honesty often signal that the speaker is being deceptive or that they are being defensive over some implied suspicion on your part •
‘Of course …’ or ‘Naturally …’ – an attempt to slip something past you by presenting it as already agreed. This can also be a deceptive phrase as used in such dialogue as ‘Of course I’ll place my order with you’ which may well mean that they are getting prices from someone else too •
‘Kind of …’ and ‘What you might call...
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