Do you know how much time do you spend listening? It is estimated that half of our time is spent listening. Good listening is an essential part of active communication and makes us better managers, customers, coworkers, supervisors, parents and mates. Most of us aren’t good listeners; however, listening is a skill that you can always improve.
- Focus on the speaker and let them know you are listening by giving verbal cues such as, ‘yes’, ‘ I see’ and non-verbal cues such as, nodding, leaning forward and smiling. Give the speaker your full attention
- Make eye contact, look at the person you are speaking to or who is speaking to you. Looking in another direction or distracting glances appear as though you are not listening.
- Avoid interrupting. It’s rude and you cannot talk and listen at the same time. If you assume what people are going to say before they say it and then interrupt to respond to your assumptions, you will annoy the person you are talking with and you will miss the real message.
- Ask questions and try to see the other person’s point-of-view. Don’t assume that you know what the person saying if things are not making sense for you. If you are unsure of the meaning ask for clarification and then if you are still not sure repeat it back to them.
- Acknowledge the other person’s feelings; make them feel like you understand and that it is okay to feel the way they do.
- Be patient when you don’t understand; getting upset won’t solve any problems but will only create more.
- Express your point-of-view and make a conscious choice about your response.
Adapted from Sheila Dicks