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Session 2: Listening, Giving and Receiving Feedback

Posted By Administration, Monday, October 9, 2017

I really enjoyed Dana Byrd’s presentation on listening and receiving feedback.  It was eye opening to know that sometimes while we think the fastest path to success is speaking up, sometimes its more valuable to pause and listen.  We get so caught up in wanting to be heard but what we really want is to establish trust, morale, respect, and relationships.

The session consisted of 2 parts: Part one was her presentation on listening and leading by influence and Part 2 was a small group exercise in listening and receiving feedback.

In Part 1, her presentation reminds us of how distracted we really are by technology, phones and work that when we are listening… we really are not, at least not deeply. In addition to listening, it is important to make space. In other words, create pauses that give the speaker time to ponder and reflect on what they are saying more deeply.  Another point I found really valuable in an ‘out of body looking in’ way was her point that the number one reason we don’t listen is because of our ego.  We tend not to seek other’s opinions or value their input when we are doing something that is our strength. This can lead to bad team dynamics.

In Part 2 of the session we took turns being the speaker, the listener or the feedback giver.

It was a helpful exercise for us to hyper focus on how we listen and how we reflect this through our body language. 

-Taylor Milner Compton, AIA

Dana Byrd broke the session into two parts:

Part 1 – Dana dove into what it means to listen and the different levels at which we do so, i.e. hearing doesn’t equate to listening. We listen to do one of three things, respond, understand, or to gain meaning. Each takes a certain level of attentiveness, with gaining meaning from a conversation requiring the most. Dana touched on verbal and non-verbal behaviors and how utilizing both within a conversation can be used as powerful tools. Giving someone an extra second to think and respond before filling the brief silence with your own voice can allow that person to fully express what they might be thinking. Also asking powerful and thought provoking questions not only moves the conversation along, but can take it to the next level.

Part 2 – For part two we were broken into groups of three with each person given a certain task, to be a listener, speaker, or observer. The speaker was to share an experience while the listener practiced the skills learned from part 1. The observer was to watch the listener and focus on how well they put those skills to work. Each person had the opportunity to perform all tasks, with each task giving a unique perspective on listening with a purpose and how difficult it can actually be.

Dana taught us a significant amount about listening, but one of the biggest takeaways was ‘Listening ROI.’ What you gain from intentional listening and communication is rapport, trust, and respect; just a few things we look to take away from listening and giving and receiving feedback.

-Patrick Gaither, AIA

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