Best Practices: How NOT to Listen in Healthcare Peer Interviews

April 1, 2021
April 1, 2021

This blog post continues our series of patient experience best practices from the HealthStream Engagement Institute. Every week we share information that demonstrates our expansive understanding of the challenges faced by healthcare organizations and the solutions we have identified for improving the patient experience and patient and business outcomes.

You might tend to think that listening to the spoken word requires no effort—that it is a passive activity. The opposite is true. Listening is an active process that requires your participation.

Active listening means that you give full attention to the other person, putting aside your need to reply, concentrating instead on what you’re hearing. A good interviewer is, in fact, a very good listener. Here are so ways to fail at listening in healthcare peer interviews.

The Top 10 Poor-Listening Habits

  1. Not Paying Attention. Listeners may allow themselves to be distracted or to think of something else. Also, not wanting to listen often contributes to lack of attention.
  2. “Pseudo Listening.” Often, people who are thinking about something else deliberately try to look as though they are listening. Such pretense may leave the speaker with the false impression that the listener has heard some particularly important information.
  3. Listening but Not Hearing the Overall Message. Sometimes a person listens only to facts, details, or to the way information is presented and misses the real meaning.
  4. Rehearsing. Some people listen until they want to say something; then they quit listening, start rehearsing what they will say, and wait for an opportunity to respond.
  5. Interrupting. The listener does not wait until the complete meaning can be determined, but interrupts so forcefully that the speaker stops in mid-sentence.
  6. Hearing What Is Expected. People frequently think they heard speakers say what they expected them to say. Alternatively, they refuse to hear what they do not want to hear.
  7. Feeling Defensive. The listener assumes he/she knows the speaker’s intention or why something was said. Or, for various other reasons, he/she expects to be attacked.
  8. Listening for a Point of Disagreement. Some listeners seem to wait for the chance to attack someone. They listen intently for points on which they can disagree.
  9. Self-Conscious Listening. Some people focus too much attention on themselves by thinking, “Am I doing well or badly?” or “I wonder what the speaker thinks of me?” This preoccupation with self is a hindrance to understanding the other person, and it inhibits spontaneity.
  10. Listening Intellectually Rather Than Personally. Some people listen with their heads and ignore emotional and nonverbal messages. They end up analyzing the messages rather than experiencing or empathizing with what is being said.


About the Best Practice Series

We are pleased to share the best practices developed by our expert coaches from the HealthStream Engagement Institute. This series of how-to publications offers proven techniques, key words and phrases, and processes to help you transform your culture to one of high performance.

Our Best Practices Series, based on employee-developed and employee-managed practices and programs, includes the following:

  • Hourly Rounding
  • Reward and Recognition
  • Peer Interviewing
  • Bright Ideas™
  • Purposeful Rounding
  • Words that WorkSM
  • Service Recovery
  • Standards of Performance

Our goal for this collection is to offer you even more tools to achieve extraordinary service and higher levels of performance excellence.

Learn more about the services offered by the HealthStream Engagement Institute