The Art of Listening

When observing the guests that have appeared throughout the weeks of BCM 313 workshops the two that stand out the most to me are the appearances of Elleine Petrou who worked as the Associate Director of student operations and  then later moved back to her project management role within strategic planning and Tom Bambrick, who works within the University of Wollongong as the Global Academic Quality & Performance Specialist. 

Through listening to both their experiences I learnt that despite sharing the same workspace they both had vastly different experiences both with their peers and with the tasks they complete on a day-to-day basis. 

One of my biggest takeaways from the interview with Elleine came from when she was describing one of the current roles she was undertaking at the University. Despite it being a fairly confidential project she was still able to outline the fact that she is listening and trying to understand the views and actions of a differing perspective of people at the University to “articulate why they’re doing it” and “what they’re trying to achieve”. Despite the fact that she disagrees with the actions of others it is her role to analyse and test her theories to prove why her methodology works better than those with opposing views. 

This is interesting in relation to what we have learnt this semester in regards to the week two workshop based around externalising conversation. In this lesson a slide was shown that examined the top 10 skills that workers would have been predicted to need to possess by 2020, a study conducted in 2015 by the World Economic Forum of Future Jobs Report. A the top of this list was Complex Problem Solving and Critical Thinking respectively and when listening to the tasks that Elleine undertakes at her job it is evident that these are two of the most important skills to have, particularly when observing the thought processes and actions of those in the workplace that you mightn’t agree with or feel as if could require some improvements. Similarly, both guests spoke on the importance of working as a team and finding those in your workspace who you can bond with on a personal level whilst also differentiating them from the workers who are just there for work. This also relates to the fifth most important projected skill, that being “communicating with others”. Tom’s interview mentions how his supervisor knows how he would go for walks around the university to see who he interacts with but then relays it to say that they would refer to themselves as his colleague as opposed to his supervisor. This is an example of how Tom conducts himself within the workplace and builds friendships with workers around him, creating a much more friendly work environment.

The interview as conducted by Kate allowed both Tom and Ellaine to explain the actions behind their work and the reasoning and thought processes behind everything they did, it followed the structure that we’ve gone over in tutorials with outsider witnesses which allowed for all those viewing and listening to their stories to be able to take away the key language that the guests used as well as observe the way that they acted within the workplace and how their emotions affected this. 

Having both the guests on simultaneously to listen and learn from each other also made for an interesting conversation when they began discussing their commonalities within the workplace. Elleaine found that she resonated with Tom’s way of working with people who challenged her ideas as she described herself as working closely with someone who is “a glass-half-empty type of guy” where she sees herself as a glass-half-full person.  The way that the two interacted and bonded over their similar workplace experiences showed a deep sense of camaraderie between the two, particularly because they also share the same workplace. In the week 4 workshop, guest speaker Raewayn Cambell placed a large focus on the importance of camaraderie within their own place of work and creating a bond with others of similar workplace experiences. 

After listening to each guest and the stories they brought forth there were a multitude of different pieces of information that could be taken away from their experiences within the workplace, each unique and each relating to the BCM 313 course in a unique way. The way that each speaker shared similar experiences with one another despite working in different fields and having different levels of background was a major takeaway as a listener as it emphasised the sense of camaraderie a lot of workers have even though they mighn’t be working within the same field.

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