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PayScale’s VIP Blog Roundup: The Real Way to Become a Better Listener

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If you've ever tried to up your listening game, you know it's harder than it seems. It's not a matter of simply cultivating interest in what the speaker is saying, or suppressing the tendency to wait for your chance to talk. This week's roundup includes insight into why you can't become a better listener, just by listening harder – plus, how to improve, the right way, and an explanation of why all those productivity hacks aren't helping you to get more done.

If you’ve ever tried to up your listening game, you know it’s harder than it seems. It’s not a matter of simply cultivating interest in what the speaker is saying, or suppressing the tendency to wait for your chance to talk. This week’s roundup includes insight into why you can’t become a better listener, just by listening harder – plus, how to improve, the right way, and an explanation of why all those productivity hacks aren’t helping you to get more done.

listen bird 

(Photo Credit: Kurayba/Flickr)

Dan Erwin at his blog: No, You Can’t Become a Better Listener By Listening Harder

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“Effective listeners listen for different levels of meaning,” Erwin explains. “The linguistic level is simply that to which the message refers. ‘Jim can’t come to the team meeting.’ The individual words of the sentence and the sentence as a whole have linguistic meaning. ‘Jim’ refers to one specific person and ‘can’t come’ refers to a specific action that won’t take place. ‘Team meeting’ is a well-defined event. That’s linear listening.”

Beyond that, Erwin says, you have the “non-linear, interpretive level of meaning [which is] where our brains really start churning,” and then the “relational level of meaning [which is] is the complex set of cues within the message that indicate the relationship between the talker and the listener.” To learn more about to really listen effectively, check out the full post.

Marla Gottschalk at The Office Blend: Please Stop “Improving” Things

“I hate it when people ‘improve’ things for no apparent reason,” Dr. Gottschalk writes. “Especially, things that really do not need improving. It’s much like looking forward to that perfect blend of coffee at your local shop and it’s been discontinued, for something new and ‘exotic.’ (LinkedIn, WordPress you are right up there on my list of offenders.)”

While her plea is obviously directed at the people and companies who create our favorite social networks and productivity tools, it’s a good thing to consider in your day-to-day life, too. Especially if you’re a decision-maker at work, your urge to shake things up can have huge repercussions for the people who report to you. It’s worth it to take the time to figure out if your “improvements” really make things better, before you disrupt the status quo.

Lindsay Shoemake at That Working Girl: 5 Productivity Hacks You Need Now

Do you ever feel like all your productivity techniques are actually eating up more time than they’re saving? Maybe you’re focusing on the wrong thing.

“This obsession with productivity defeats the purpose of a productivity hack,” writes Shoemake. “The purpose of a productivity ‘hack’ is not to produce more but rather, to get better at what you’re producing so you actually have time to have coffee with a friend or read a comic. Put simply: improve the quality so you can cut back on the quantity.”

In her post, Shoemake offers five tips that will actually improve your productivity … instead of just encouraging you to chase busy-work.

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Jen Hubley Luckwaldt
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