Thursday, 5 January 2017

Are You an Active Listener? 3 Tips for Improving Your Listening Skills

Are You an Active Listener? 3 Tips for Improving Your Listening Skills

In the following post, Lewis Daidone discusses tips and strategies for becoming an effective and active listener.

Most people think that they’re good (or at least decent) listeners. Well, most people are mistaken about their listening capabilities; they might recall some of the spoken words, but the crux of the communication is often lost. If you’re going to succeed in the accounting profession – or any profession, for that matter – you have to hone your listening skills.

Listen to tone, and pay attention to body language.

Hearing the words people say is obviously important, but the manner in which they communicate those words can give you a tremendous amount of information. This can be challenging because it requires a dual focus: visual and aural. However, if you can get a sense of the speaker’s attitude and emotional state, you are better equipped to respond appropriately. Is the speaker anxious? Annoyed? Excited? Taking these factors into account can help you become a more empathetic listener and effective leader.

Don’t assume you’ve got the idea before the speaker finishes.

Set aside your assumptions until the speaker has completed his/her thought. Repeat the words in your head, if necessary, and ask for clarification if you aren’t absolutely sure. Do not interrupt with affirmations or encouragements (“Yes!” “Exactly!”). Once the speaker has completed his/her point, pause before you comment to ensure that you truly understood the message.

Summarize the speaker’s statement in your own words.

In order to solidify your own understanding of the speaker’s point and to assure him/her that you understand clearly, give a brief summation. Statements such as: “So, what I’m hearing is…” and “If I understand correctly…” , help to clarify the issue for both you and the speaker.

Do your best to practice active listening during your daily conversations. It not only helps you to improve your listening skills, it can also improve your emotional intelligence!

CPALewis Daidone serves as a consultant to technology companies and financial services firms. Visit this LinkedIn profile for more on his work.

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Negotiating Numerous Job Offers: How to Select the Right One

Negotiating Numerous Job Offers: How to Select the Right One

In the following post, Lewis Daidone offers tips on how to choose from multiple accounting job offers.

Congratulations! You’ve got not one, but several job offers! But… now what? You can only accept one job, so how can you make sure that it’s the right one?

You’re in a fantastic position, and yet you should tread carefully. Here are a few tips for how you can strategically choose the best job.

Decide what you want most from your career.

While a great salary is obviously fantastic, the money shouldn’t be your only consideration. Which job will allow you to use your particular skills? Which job has the most promising career advancement opportunities? In the long run, having a mid-level position at a large firm might be a smarter move than having an advanced position at a small, unproven one. However, a small firm might have a great deal of potential for growth.

Assess the company culture.

Most employers do their best to determine whether new hires will be a good fit with the culture of the organization, but only you can determine whether or not you’ll feel at home. Hopefully, you will have chatted with the staff members during the interview process. Do they seem energized, pleasant, and happy to be a part of the company, or do they seem frustrated and distracted? What sort of environment do you thrive in? Do you like a relaxed, collegial environment, or do you operate better under a more formal structure?

Compare compensation packages.

Don’t necessarily allow yourself to be seduced by goodie bag-style compensation packages. (Gym memberships! Catered lunches! Massages!) Think about your lifestyle and which perks could really save you money, and then think about your career and consider which can help you advance – not only at this particular organization, but anywhere.

Lewis Daidone, CPA, works technology companies and financial services firms as a consultant. For similar updates, visit this blog.