Friday, January 16, 2009
RT Staff Note: The Following is from Carmen Bucci of the Complete Athlete.
Listening is the most important part of communicating. Communication is what the other person hears. We’re always ready to talk, but we’re not always ready to listen. Listening is a skill, and it’s not the easiest thing to do. Hitting a baseball is a skill. Throwing a change up is a skill.
To get better at our skills, we practice them. But we don’t practice listening. Even as a person is talking to us, we’re thinking of how we will respond before we hear everything they have to say. Could your poor listening skills cost you a chance at a scholarship? Possibly. Let me explain.
Think about what you go through in the recruiting process. Once a coach knows you exist, the process doesn’t end. You’re going to have to speak to them. And, the verbal communication phase of recruiting usually starts over the phone. Listening, over the phone, is much more difficult to do than if you were face to face with someone because the cues are tougher to recognize. To add even more complications to the mix, at times, you and the coach will both be on a cell phone. We all know how reliable those can be.
To show respect to the coach, and to get a sense of their interest in you, you need to employ your best listening skills. Don’t cut them off when they are talking. No one likes that, and you run the risk of misunderstanding the coach’s message. Remember that this is an interview and as much as you want to do the talking, you need to listen first. We have two ears and one mouth for a reason. You’ll get your chance to talk. The coach will offer you that opportunity.
Here are a few tips on becoming a better “phone-listener.”
1. Make sure you pay close attention to the tone of voice, how the words are being said, and the pace.
2. As the listener you need to let the talker finish their message completely. To do that, listen for the last letter in the last word of the sentence.
3. I understand nerves and excitement will be present when talking to a coach. Take a deep breath, slow and know that it’s ok to pause for a second before you answer. There’s no rush.
4. Resist the urge to jump in and cut the coach off no matter how bad you want to say something or how important it is to you.
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