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6 Tips for Effective Listening

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.

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