Updated: Aug 13
Communication is 80% or more of a project manager's job. Mindful listening is equally important.
Being an attentive and active listener provides a project manager with an opportunity to build stronger relationships and be fully present during team interactions.
In the age of remote work, mindful and active listening is even more important. When working remotely, it is essential to reduce distractions and background noise. Be fully present and engaged.
Web Cameras - Opt to use a web camera and position your camera so that it appears you are looking across the table at the viewer.
Don't be on your phone or speaking with people in the room with you when engaging with a conversation with your virtual colleagues.
Choose a quiet location with no distractions to hold a meeting. It is not recommended to try and run important project meetings while working from a coffee shop or noisy co-working space.
Look straight into the camera and respond when verbal and non-verbal queues, just as if you were in the same room. Give the appearance that you are listening. Don't interrupt or already be thinking about your response.
If you have multiple monitors, explain to the colleague that you may be taking notes or looking at information on another screen so they don't think you aren't listening.
Why is Mindful Listening Important for Project Managers?
Using mindful listening skills in a remote world has several benefits. It can directly impact how you are perceived by your team, executives, and others. By not utilizing these mindful listening skills, it could negatively impact your working relationships, professional growth and career.
Building relationships - By consistently showing you care and repeat back with the colleague is saying, with empathy, it can build stronger relationships. You will build your stakeholder management abilities.
Increased collaboration and cooperation - A byproduct of strong relationships is that more people will want to work with you towards the success of a project. Once you have established a positive relationship, keep building the relationship currency. People will seek you out for your advice and opinions.
Difficult conversations are easier - Projects don't always go well. There will be a time when you need to borrow against your positive relationship currency bank. Having utilizing mindful active listening skills, building relationships, will make hard conversations easier to have.