Communication is important in both our business and personal lives. We listen to obtain information, learn, understand and for enjoyment. Effective listening is key, yet it is a skill that we all can benefit from improving.
Here are 6 tips to become an effective listener:
Tip 1: Be attentive, but relaxed.
Face the speaker and maintain eye contact. You don’t need to stare at the person but be present and pay attention.
Tip 2: Keep an open mind.
Listen without judging, criticizing or jumping to conclusions. Don’t assume you know what they will say next or how they will conclude their thoughts.
Tip 3: Don't interrupt.
Wait for the speaker to pause to ask clarifying questions. If the speaker wants your opinion or thoughts, they will usually ask for it.
Tip 4: Ask questions only to ensure understanding.
Don’t ask questions that interrupt or are in a different direction of the speaker’s initial conversation.
Tip 5: Empathize with the speaker.
Try to feel what the speaker is feeling. Put yourself in their position.
Tip 6: Give the speaker regular feedback.
Give verbal cues or body language to show you are listening and following what they are saying.
By becoming a better listener, you can improve your productivity, avoid conflict and misunderstandings.