I can always tell when Maggie is multitasking when I call her.

It’s not just the clicking sound of the keyboard that gives her away. Her responses are out of sync. It’s clear she’s distracted.

On the days when she’s 100% present, I feel heard. On the other days, there’s a disconnect.

Honestly, it’s kind of uncomfortable.

Have you ever noticed something similar in your own life?

The ability to listen fully, so people really feel heard, is notable, because it’s rare.

Most people aren’t really listening. They’re just waiting for their turn to speak.

And we can tell the difference.

This listening gap can have profound consequences on teams and organizations.

Consequences of the Listening Gap

Recent research shows that poor listening habits and skills effect more than 70% of employees, resulting in:

  • Misunderstandings
  • Errors
  • Missed opportunities
  • Arguments
  • Stalled projects
  • Damaged relationships

All of this means a hit to the bottom line.

Most of us are not taught listening skills in school, but thankfully we can develop better listening skills now, and it doesn’t have to be painful!

Studies have shown improv is highly effective for developing a range of leadership skills, including listening (see, for example Tabaee 2013, and Dufresne 2020).

As an improv performer, listening and awareness is a critical “muscle” onstage, so we train it well. The same activities we use to train for the stage work brilliantly for training leaders and teams in organizations.

One of my favorites teaches clients how to “listen down to the last word,” and gives them a tool they can use anytime they need to pay close attention. But that’s just one of many examples I have in my toolbox.

And don’t take my word for it. I’ll let my clients speak for themselves.

“Melissa’s “Communicating for Influence” program was an impactful, refreshing change from “typical” team education sessions. We saw deep engagement and real learning through the highly interactive and very fun activities.”

-B, User Research Consultant

“The Communicating for Influence workshop Melissa created for my research team was great at teaching key skills while at the same time being fun! I have already seen my team using these tools in their day to day work.”

-Carly Rush, Manager, Facebook

Read more client praise here

How about you? How would things be different if everyone on your team really listened?

I know it would make my conversations with Maggie go a whole lot more smoothly.

Maybe we also wouldn’t have as much conflict in our relationship…

But that’s another topic for another newsletter. 😉

Tech Leaders: Are you ready to harness the power of improv to help your team become listening superheroes and connect with powerful communication, so you can have more effective collaboration throughout and beyond your organization?

Book your complimentary Team Performance Assessment Call 


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