Maintaining Your Mental Edge
with Dr. Dorothy McCoy
Are you listening, officer?
Have you ever wondered if you were communicating well with your fellow officers and the public?
Do you think they understand what you are trying to communicate to them? Do you understand what they are trying to communicate to you? Comprehending as well as "hearing" what we are told are vital skills.
Good listening skills, and they are learnable skills, can improve your effectiveness in communication. Communication is more than words.
Much of the message is body language. One's verbal message and body language should be congruent. The body language test is coming soon. I know you are excited about that ... so am I.
Look, listen and ask for clarification. So let’s take the test and see how we do.
1. Other officers often come to me when they want to "reality test."
2. I have noticed that others tend to repeat themselves in our conversations.
3. I show that I am listening attentively by occasionally nodding my head.
4. I sometimes paraphrase what others have said to be sure that I understood correctly.
5. When others confide in me, I often tell them about a similar situation I have experienced.
6. I am so in tune with others that I frequently complete their sentences.
7. I lean forward and maintain eye contact when the other person is speaking.
8. I always make time to listen to a citizen or fellow officer.
9. During conversations I usually think ahead about what I will say next.
10. I show my frustration when others tell long stories.
Give yourself one point for each correct answer. Good luck!
8 – 10 Score:
You must be a very good officer, because you are getting most of the information you need. Your department is lucky to have you.
You have some effective listening skills, however you are not “hearing” and understanding as well as you could. Try practicing all of the “yes’s” and examining the “no’s.” You will find that your listening skills can be improved in a very short time. Patience and practice are your tools to more effective communication. We human beings like to be heard and understood.
We need to talk. Perhaps your talent lies in speaking rather than listening. Try the suggestions for the above score. Paraphrase what others say and then ask them for feedback. Did you understand correctly? With a little help from your colleagues you will soon add listening to your list of talents.