Case Studies

Discovering the power of effective communication

Joining the Hong Kong American Express Leadership Academy in 2018 gave me a golden opportunity to learn about the practical use of active listening.

I was always an admirer of practicality and efficiency because I was educated and trained that way. Somehow, I lacked the patience to listen to alternative proposals that cost my team extra efforts even though I understood the importance of active listening and being open to options.

My role as Programme Officer at Good Seed requires me to have in-depth communications with different stakeholders including institutions, academia, non-profit organizations, for-profit organizations and many other parties. Through the mini-group discussion during the Academy, I learnt not only by listening but by observing non-verbal behaviour, focusing on and respecting the speaker’s autonomy instead of challenging for a better solution. Most importantly, I learnt to acknowledge the intention and passion of the message delivered even when I disagree.

Throughout the process of practising active listening, it challenged me to let go of my personal opinion and ego to spend time listening, interacting, and cooperating with my teammates to create one great idea. It showed me the power of effective communication when all of us were willing to take a small step by applying active listening skills into our conversation.

After completing the Academy, I have tried my best to apply all of these communication skills into my workplace by constantly raising smart questions to trigger constructive discussion instead of avoiding rooms for something new and strenuous.

The soft-skills and knowledge shared from the Academy and the coaching session has definitely improved the quality of my conversations with my co-workers. We have also cultivated a more constructive and practical communication style within our teammates to better understand each other’s visions and perspectives. My team has further improved our programme by establishing effective communication, in order to have a greater impact on the social innovation ecosystem.

Cheryle Wong
Programme Officer, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (Good Seed Programme)