Active Listening

Welcome to 'Business Communication - Active Listening' e-learning sessions. The following modules have been developed to help you improve workplace listening skills. As you progress through the modules, please feel free to get in touch with Babita Sangras ([email protected]). 

Getting Started

Do you find yourself in situations where you have to type/text while speaking to somebody?

  • Yes. Multitasking is important these days.

You are in a meeting when you receive a text/email. You would reply

Do you constantly have the nagging feeling in your head to check your phone or laptop for updates?

  • Immediately. I don't want people to think I am dead!
  • Within 15 minutes of receiving the email/text.
  • Depends on the sender.

You are speaking to someone who is making good eye contact with you and is listening intently to every word that you speak. What would be your opinion about this person?

Does a speaker who gives full attention to you bother you?

When people speak to me about sensitive subject, I

Are we comfortable comforting people?

  • Avoid eye contact
  • Start a new subject
  • Listen intently and avoid saying anything
  • Comfort the person by saying whatever comes first to your mind.

Imagine a scenario

What affects Listening?

What Affects Listening?

  • We listen to Act.
  • The undue focus on planning the action takes our mind off the listening itself. 
  • Missing the details, responding only to the first few or last few points are the outcomes of focussing on the action.

What Affects Listening?

The act of hearing is through ears while listening is through the mind. 

Hearing is receiving the sound waves through ears. Example: Hearing the camera click.

Listening, on the other hand, is receiving the sound waves and deciphering the meaning by understanding the words and sentences of the speaker.

While we might be receiving a sense of someone speaking to you, listening to what that person says, required effort.

What Affects Listening?

Prejudice comes in the way of effective listening.

When the mind swings into utilizing preconceived notions, the listener starts filtering out words and ideas. 

The listener's values, beliefs, assumptions, expectations, intentions, culture, situational barriers, and attitudes affect active listening.

What Affects Listening?

Human beings have a tendency to try to achieve the maximum in minimum time. 

In our race against time, we tend to handle more and end up achieving less. 

Studies prove that effectiveness of calls and meetings would increase by at least 20% if all the attendees were to leave their electronic gadgets out of the conference room.

Trying to do-it-all achieves nothing!

What Affects Listening?

Focusing on the words alone leave the communication incomplete.

The tone and the body language of the speaker are of paramount importance. 

Try saying 'I am not responsible for this' by stressing on a different word each time. 

There is a major difference between 

I am not responsible for this 


I am not responsible for this

What Affects Listening?

When listening to somebody, we tend to use encouragers to keep the speaker going. 


Phrases like 'yes', 'hmmm', 'true', 'I understand'

Gestures like nodding your head, facial expressions, waving your hands

Too many encouragers can obstruct effective listening. They influence the speaker to the extent that the speech might get directed just by the listener's encouragers.

Verbal Communication Skills

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Changing eLearning dynamics in the enterprise to user-generated content

Team Calls

Team Calls

  1. Schedule

    • PST: 08:30 am to 09:00 am - Monday to Thursday

    • UTC: 03:30 pm to 04:00 pm - Monday to Thursday

    • CEST: 05:30 pm to 06:00 pm - Monday to Thursday

  2. APAC schedule

    • PST: 09:30 pm to 10:00 pm - Monday

    • UTC: 04:30 am to 05:00 am - Tuesday

    • CEST: 06:30 am to 07:00 am - Tuesday

  3. Everyone at [INSERT YOUR COMPANY'S NAME] is invited to the team call.

  4. We also have a team call for [INSERT YOUR COMPANY'S NAME]bers in the APAC region. This call will also be recorded so the rest of the team can see what their colleagues have been up to! Everyone is encouraged to join this call as well, but it is not mandatory.

  5. Every last Friday of the month we have an AMA to talk about anything our team is thinking about.

  6. We use Zoom for the call since Google Hangouts is capped at 15 people (please be sure to mute your microphone). If using the Zoom web app, you can go to settings and check always mute microphone when joining a meeting.

  7. The link is in the calendar invite and also listed at the top of the team agenda Google Doc called Team Agenda.

  8. The call is recorded automatically, and all calls are transferred every hour to a Google Drive folder called "[INSERT YOUR COMPANY'S NAME] Videos". There is a subfolder called "[INSERT YOUR COMPANY'S NAME] Team Call", which is accessible to all users with a [INSERT YOUR COMPANY'S NAME].com e-mail account.

  9. We start on time and do not wait for people.

  10. The person who has the first item on the agenda starts the call.

  11. If you are unable to attend just add your name to the team agenda as "Not attending".

  12. We start by discussing the subjects that are on the agenda for today.

    • Everyone is free to add subjects. Please start with your name and be sure to link to an issue, merge request, or commit if it is relevant.

    • When done with a point mention the subject of the next item and hand over to the next person.

    • When someone passes the call to you, no need to say, “Can you hear me?” Just begin talking. If we can’t hear you, we’ll let you know.

  13. After the general announcements, each team call has an assigned topic for team members to share their personal interests. The schedule is as follows:

    • Monday: Sports & Wellness, Cooking, Creative Projects, and Entertaining

    • Tuesday: Entertainment (Music, books, TV & Movies, video/board games)

    • Wednesday: Travel, Kids, Family, and Pets

    • Thursday: Mixer Calls, where we split off into smaller groups to discuss what we have been up to. No need to add yourself to the agenda on this day.

    • Friday: Any topic

  14. Please add your name to the agenda at least 15 minutes before the team call is scheduled to start. We encourage 15-20 people to share an update of about a minute to leave time for all listed on the agenda. If you see that a particular day is congested and you have already shared over the last 2 weeks, please consider moving your name to a later week.

  15. It is OK to talk over people or interrupt people to ask questions, cheer for them or show your compassion. This encourages more conversation and feedback in the call. Also see the interruption item in video calls.

  16. Please look if the person you hand over to is present in the participant list so you don't hand over to someone who is not present.

  17. The last person wishes everyone a good day.

  18. Even if you cannot join the call, consider reviewing the recorded call or at minimum read through the team agenda and the links from there. We often use the team call to make announcements or discuss changes in processes, so make sure to catch up on the news if you have missed a team call (or more).

  19. If you are scheduling a meeting, avoid scheduling during the team call so that meeting attendees do not need to choose between your meeting and the team call. As a remote workforce, the team call is an important part of our culture.

Video Calls (copy)

Video Calls

  1. Use video calls if you find yourself going back and forth in an issue/via email or over chat. Rule of thumb: if you have gone back and forth 3 times, it's time for a video call.

  2. Having pets, children, significant others, friends, and family visible during video chats is encouraged. If they are human, ask them to wave at your remote team member to say "Hi".

  3. We prefer Zoom.

  4. For meetings that are scheduled via calendar there is automatically a Google Hangouts URL added. This is the meeting place. Having a url in advance is much more reliable than trying to call via Hangouts as the meeting start.

  5. Google Calendar also has a Zoom plugin where you can easily add a Zoom link for a video call to the invite

  6. Use a headset with a microphone, Apple Earpods are great. Do not use computer speakers, they cause an echo. Do not use your computer microphone, it accentuates background noise. If you want to use your Bose headphones that is fine but please ensure the microphone is active.

  7. Consider using a utility to easily mute/unmute yourself, see Shush in the tools section.

  8. In video calls everyone should own a camera and a headset, even when they are in the same room. This helps seeing and hearing the person that is talking. It also allows people to easily talk and mute themselves. Using a headset also prevents echo. You wouldn't share an office seat together, so don't share your virtual seat at the table.

  9. We start on time and do not wait for people. People are expected to join no later than the scheduled minute of the meeting (before :01 if it is scheduled for :00). The question 'is everyone here' is not needed.

  10. It feels rude in video calls to interrupt people. This is because the latency causes you to talk over the speaker for longer than during an in-person meeting. We should not be discouraged by this, the questions and context provided by interruptions are valuable. This is a situation where we have to do something counter-intuitive to make remote-only meetings work. In [INSERT YOUR COMPANY'S NAME] everyone is encouraged to interrupt the speaker in a video call to ask a question or offer context. We want everyone to contribute instead of a monologue. Just like in-person meetings be cognizant of when, who, and how you interrupt, we don't want "manterrupting".

  11. We end on the scheduled time. It might feel rude to end a meeting, but you're actually allowing all attendees to be on time for their next meeting.

Situation-Complication-Implication-Position-Action-Benefit (SCIPAB)

Situation-Complication-Implication-Position-Action-Benefit (SCIPAB)

Mandel Communications refers to SCIPAB at the "surefire, six-step method for starting any conversation or presentation." When you only have a few minutes to present your case or grab your listeners attention, this six-step process can help you communicate better and faster.

  • Situation - Expresses the current state for discussion

  • Complication - Summarzies the critical issues, challenges or opportunities

  • Implication - Provides insight into the consequences that will be a result of if the Complications are note addressed.

  • Position - Notes the presenter's opinion on the necessary changes which should be made.

  • Action - Defines the expectations of the target audience/listeners.

  • Benefit - Clearly concludes how the Position and Action sections will address the Complications. This method can be used in presentations, emails and everyday conversations. Example - The Management team asking for time to resolve a problem

  • S - The failure rate last year for product X1 was an acceptable 1.5%.

  • C - Because of supply shortages in the current fiscal year we are forced to change the material of a key component.

  • I - Unfortunately, that resulted in the failure rate doubling this year.

  • P - It is critical we address this problem immediately.

  • A - Please approve the team 5 days to investigate the specific causes of the increase and establish the necessary next steps.

  • B - By doing this we will redue the failure rate to an acceptabel level and develop guidelines for preventing such problems in the future. More information can be found at SCIPAB- Six Steps To Reach Your Audience



Upload conversations to Youtube

  1. If you have a conversation that might be interesting please hit start recording (unless the meeting is livestreamed already).

  2. Log in to Zoom account of the meeting and go to the menu on the right and choose "My Recordings" (it can take 30 minutes before the recording is available).

  3. Select the meeting and download the video recording to your computer (if you can't find the recording because it was a while ago check "Trash" in that menu on the top left and "Recover" the recording).

  4. Go to YouTube upload and log in to the [INSERT YOUR COMPANY'S NAME] account (read the secure note in 1Password called "YouTube" for instructions on how to get access).

  5. Drag and drop your recording into the window to upload it (keep the privacy dropdown on the default 'Public' setting).

  6. While it's uploading, edit the title and description. If the video is meant to be kept unlisted on our YouTube channel, place "Confidential:" at the beginning of the video's title.

  7. Be sure to include relevant links (for example a handbook page or presentation) in the description, and add the video to any relevant playlists.

  8. When it is done uploading press publish and click on the Embed tab to get the code and place that in the relevant part of the handbook or documentation.

Don't worry about the quality

  1. There is no quality minimum, as long as it is not inappropriate or confidential please share it on our [INSERT YOUR COMPANY'S NAME] Youtube channel.

  2. Everyone at the company probably has at least one conversation every week that is relevant to more people, please share it.

  3. We always list the video instead of having an unlisted video unless there is confidential content, this allows more people to find the content.

  4. Don't worry about it not being interesting to everyone, just give it a descriptive title so people know what it is about.

  5. Make sure that participants are aware that you're recording.

  6. When you hit record you don't have to be sure if it is interesting and OK to share, you can make that decision after the fact.

  7. If you record an in-person conversation via your mobile phone please hold your phone in landscape mode.

Why record?

  1. Allow other people to consume the content.

  2. Allow the participants to review the content later.

  3. No need to repeat yourself.

Why Youtube and not Google Drive?

Always use YouTube and never use Google Drive:

  1. Video's are streamed more reliably.

  2. Video's have mouse-over thumbnails.

  3. Video's can be played at a higher speed.

  4. Video's can be fast forwarded and rewinded 15 seconds.

  5. Video's can be timeshifted with a watch later list.

  6. Video's can be embedded, for example in the handbook.

  7. Video's restart after being reloaded at the right point.

  8. You can easily view Youtube on other devices like TVs.

  9. YouTube makes it easy to link to a specific time in the video.

  10. YouTube adds automatic subtitles.

  11. YouTube is zero rated by some mobile providers

  12. Youtube is a distribution channel, it will show it to people when it is relevant.

  13. Everyone can contribute by leaving comments.