Listening! Is it a skill taught in Schools?

MBOT_Rosa_002By Rosa Lokaisingh

In communication, we are taught great writing and speaking skills, for example, how to present ourselves when networking or presenting in front of a group, how to write articles or deliver an elevator pitch, and how to answer interview questions, but how much time is spent on teaching us how important it is to listen?

If we’re lucky, we may learn that in the workplace through professional development courses in communication, providing our employers provide that opportunity. If not, we’re left on our own to find that out the hard way, and sometimes it may cost us a high price of missed opportunities. How many of us invest in communication courses with our personal budget? Some of us do, but many don’t.

Effective salespeople have developed the best listening skills- this may only reflect 20% of salespeople, as most have been taught how to do a great presentation, which includes packaging their products, services and themselves at a high professional level.

image001Maximizing the effectiveness of oral business communication between salespeople and customers hinges on two fundamental communication process components, i.e. talking and listening. At the end of the day, it does not matter how well you articulate a message to a customer, if it is not effectively absorbed by your target audience, the probability of sales success is greatly reduced.

This goes for everyone else, parents and children, bosses and employees, colleagues and teams, and any dialogue or group discussions. Human beings think faster than we listen. While someone is talking at an average rate of 125 words a minute, the average listener is thinking at a much more rapid rate, and he/she is usually thinking about what he/she should or will say at the expense of losing the last part of the statement being spoken. Everyone knows when they are being heard or gotten, so let’s not ignore our attitude!

Remember to prepare ahead for any meeting or discussion, but when you’re in that meeting, here are a few things to remember:
• Be present – drop your agenda momentarily, and engage yourself and the other
• Focus on the other person – pay attention to what the message or story is
• Affirm or respond using your body language, especially eye contact and facial expressions
• Paraphrase to make sure you understand
• Ask questions to know whether you are getting the message or the story
• Be aware of your body messaging, not just your lips, as it’s revealing

It is of paramount importance for us to learn active listening at a young age, so that we can truly hear each other, pay respect to one another, and drop the judgement factor. Only then does building relationships and networking become enjoyable and effortless, as well having successful outcomes at meetings. This is a critical skill in communication, and to prepare our youth for the business world, it must be taught early in life!

As Vince Lombardi once said, “It’s not practice makes perfect, it’s PERFECT practice makes perfect!”

Rosa Lokaisingh, is our Business Innovation Connector at  Advantage Mississauga. She can be reached at 905-273-6151 Ext. 390 or
[email protected]. Visit


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Sep 17

Extending Minimum Wage Implementation Will Slash Job Loss Risk by 74%: Economic Analysis Final analysis of Bill 148 reveals $12 billion economic problem that the Ontario Government must resolve

Wednesday, September 27, 2017: Today the Mississauga Board of Trade, in partnership with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) and the Keep Ontario Working (KOW) Coalition, released two major reports that broadly capture the challenges associated with Bill 148 and the concerns of the employer community. The first report is the final economic impact analysis of Bill 148 by the Canadian Centre for Economic Analysis’ (CANCEA), which was peer-reviewed by Professor Morley Gunderson of the University of Toronto. CANCEA’s analysis reveals that if Government were to do nothing other than implement the minimum wage increase over five years instead of in the next 15 months, jobs at risk would decrease by 74 per cent in the first two years. The analysis also indicates that while the proposed changes will see $11 billion in wage stimulus flow into the economy in the next two years, a remaining $12 billion problem exists which will lead to jobs lost, added costs, and general damage to the Ontario economy. “Today’s final report by CANCEA is clear, while the Government is correct to say that there will be a stimulus from Bill 148, it does not cover the $23 billion cost challenge for business in the first two years – a substantial amount that poses great risk to our economy and cannot be resolved through offsets alone,” said Karl Baldauf, Vice President of Policy and Government Relations at the Ontario Chamber of Commerce. “More must be done. The Ontario Government must resolve the economic challenges presented in Bill 148 through a combination of slowing down the implementation period, amending the legislation, and offsets. Business and Government must work together to avoid unintended consequences and protect our most vulnerable.” “This report should be a great concern to Mississauga businesses,” said David Wojcik, President & CEO, Mississauga Board of Trade. “We call on our MPPs to heed this advice and slow down the pace of change through Bill 148.”
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