Previews of business analysis online courses

Listening for Intent and Purpose during Collaborative Workshops / Meetings

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Interestingly, the burgeoning field of Conversational AI (Artificial Intelligence) teaches us a lot about human conversations. What a computer can do well is to listen without interrupting you. What is it listening for? Intents. Conversational AI recognizes Intents (what do you want), Entities (things related to what you want), and Context (topics the AI understands) to select the right Responses (how it can react).

Those are great concepts for collaborative conversations. You might want to consider taking notes on those 4 aspects when you chat with domain experts about features, requirements, or functions the new digital solution has to provide.

Udemy Course: Master Communication Skills for Collaborative Conversations

How to Facilitate or Participate in Successful Live or Virtual Meetings and Workshops that Define Digital Solutions

Description

Listen for the intent while you hear the words your domain expert says, and you will miss and misunderstand fewer requirements.

The art of listening is not about hearing sounds. It is about interpreting intent out of the sounds. You are listening for Requirements, Stories, Features, Data Needs, Problems, Solutions, Constraints, and so on.

Informational Listening

Informational listening (aka “attentive” listening) is relatively new concept that is not as widespread as engaged listening. It is about listening with an agenda. It is common among spies because they are trained to listen to a casual conversation at a table beside them and extrapolate information that has nothing to do with what people are saying but what the spy recognizes as actionable intelligence. Turns out that Business Analysts could learn a lot from James Bond or Jason Bourne.

Analytic Listening

Analytic listening is about evaluating or analyzing a message to determine its worth to you. Technically, in a collaborative conversation with multiple participants, everyone except the speaker is using a form of Analytic Listening. They are deciding how much of what is being said relates to them and how. This is also known as Critical Listening because it often involves some form of problem solving or decision making.

By the way, anytime you get one of those annoying spam calls that are so prevalent today, you automatically apply analytic listening only long enough to decide to hang up. I find with practice I have become very proficient at it.

Empathetic Listening

Empathetic listening focuses on trying to read the emotions of the other person. This skill is invaluable for collaboration because it builds rapport. If you are trying to ask a domain expert about a specific problem and you feel her pain point, you gain a much deeper understanding of the issue. At that level, you are more likely to capture the essence of what needs to be done to alleviate the pain.

Richard Branson reportedly quotes listening as one of the main factors behind the success of Virgin. Companies that actually listen to their customers tend to thrive a lot longer than those that do not. The same is true of anyone trying to understand the business needs of stakeholders.

Successful People Spent a Lot of Time Listening

Richard Branson reportedly quotes listening as one of the main factors behind the success of Virgin. Companies that actually listen to their customers tend to thrive a lot longer than those that do not. The same is true of anyone trying to understand the business needs of stakeholders.

Research shows that you spend more of your communication time listening than doing anything else. That is a lot of time listening! We tend to take listening for granted; it is a natural skill that “just happens”. When you think about the importance of effective listening, you realize that listening is in fact an important skill that you need to develop and nurture. Effective listening saves more projects than any number of eloquent presentations that go unheard.

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Written for the aspiring Business Analyst and anyone tasked with defining the business needs, requirements, or user stories for a future IT solution.

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