Boost (your) Communication: 4 Steps to Become a Better Listener
Well, you listen to other people’s words a lot. A good part of your workday actually. But do you really hear what the other part is saying?
Fact is that the best managers make the best listeners. But there’s a big difference between passive and active listening. Practise active listening skills when interacting with people and you will see how much smoother the relationship between you will become.
Here’s how to ensure understanding when listening:
1. Listen to the total message. Let the other person finish before you give your response. Find the main thought the person is trying to share and consider it from the other persons perspective, not yours.
2. Prove your understanding by using nonverbal signals. First of all: give your full attention to the speaker. Put away your phone and don’t glance at your computer screen during the conversation. Don’t look at your watch. Do this instead:
- Nod your head to indicate agreement.
- Maintain eye contact.
- Raise your eyebrows when the speaker makes a significant point.
- Lean slightly forward.
3. Use open-ended questions. These are questions that allow the other person to respond at length, rather than with just a “yes” or “no”. Open-ended questions begin with words like “why”, “how”, “explain” and “describe”. By asking these types of questions, you’ll encourage the other person to share his or her opinions and feelings.
4. Tell them what they told you. To say something like “If I understand you right, you think that…” is a very good way to repeat what you hear and make sure you understand what the other part is telling you. You can also ask a question that proves you get the main idea. You do this to prove to the person you’re talking to that you understand him.
Are you a good listener or do you finish other people’s sentences before they are finished? Have you been a bad listener but have improved your skills in the area? What’s the worst or best example of listening skills you have experienced? Please share in the comment box below!
This is the third post in the series Boost (your) Communication, which focus on how to boost your communication skills. Stay tuned for a new blog post on the subject every week during an indefinite time! Next post will be about how to deliver a message and make sure it’s understood!
Earlier posts in Boost (your) Communication:
- 3 Strategies for Managers to Boost Their Communication Skills
- Does your employees understand why they are at work?