Being an effective listener is one of the most critical
skills you can master in order to build meaningful relationships,
advance your career, and build a successful business.
Many people often believe they are great listeners,
primarily because they have been doing it their entire
life, but mastering the nuances of listening is about
changing how you listen. In this article I will highlight
11 things I have learned and observed throughout my
life and career. A masterful listener forms an instant
bond with others and that immediate connection is created
through genuine and sincere interest in others. It all
starts with being a good listener.
With complete and masterful listening, you demonstrate
your interest in what is being said and you show your
respect for the individual saying it. Listening is a
magnetic force that draws people to us. Skillful listeners
are confident in themselves and provide value to the
conversation through the interaction, not by what they
have to say.
Have you ever talked to someone and noticed they were
not really listening to you? How did it make you feel?
Disrespected? Unimportant? Use that awareness and work
hard to make certain that people never feel the same
way when they talk with you. Challenge yourself to master
the art of listening.
1. Start the conversation.
I am astounded at the people that wait for someone
else to strike up a conversation. To be an active listener
you must first engage someone in a conversation. Walk
up to someone and introduce yourself. Begin the conversation.
Another effective way is to insert yourself into a discussion
that is already going. Begin by listening.
2. Ask questions.
The easiest way to start a conversation is to ask questions.
The easiest was to keep a conversation going is to respond
with questions. When you ask people questions during
a conversation, you show a sincere interest in the topic.
A powerful way is to ask how they FEEL about the subject
they have raised. Most people operate at a feeling level,
rather than a thinking level, even if they are logical
3. Make eye contact.
As simple as this sounds it is an essential step in
being a good listener. Make eye contact with people
while they are talking, look into their eyes to find
the soul of their words. Good eye contact demonstrates
genuine interest in the person and the conversation.
Please recognize this is not to be intense staring,
but rather appropriate eye contact and appropriately
looking away at times. Try not to make it appear intentional,
but rather sincere.
4. Use open body language.
Using body language and eye contact the right way can
really have a positive impact on the speaker. To show
you are listening and interested, lean slightly forward
in your chair. Be sure your arms are uncrossed. If standing,
stand slightly at an angle to the speaker, not facing
straight forward. Open body language encourages the
trust and openness of the relationship.
5. Be present.
I must admit I have been accused of not being present
when my wife is talking even though I am looking into
her eyes. At these times my mind is off thinking about
something other than the words or ideas coming from
her mouth. Be aware of your thoughts. If you find yourself
not present for a second or momentarily distracted apologize
and ask the speaker to repeat what they said or tell
them you do not follow what they are saying.
6. Show NO sign you are ready to respond.
When you are actively listening, don't give any clues
that you are preparing to respond. Don't point your
finger, open your mouth, take a deep breath or change
your facial expression as an indicator that you are
ready to respond. When others see you anxiously waiting
to respond, they know you are no longer listening because
you are now concerned with crafting your response or
Proof Your Business (FPYB)
For more details
Please call Mr. Anand @ +91 94440 25283
or Email email@example.com
7. Pause before your response.
During a conversation, wait a few seconds after the
person finishes speaking to allow them to finish their
thought and get prepared to listen to you. This is a
critical skill when talking on the phone, because you
cannot see their facial expression. Often times, they
are just pausing to gather their thoughts or take a
breath and have not completed their entire thought.
If you find yourself talking at the same time as someone
else is talking, then use that opportunity to remind
yourself of the importance of a pause. Many times the
most important information from a conversation comes
after the pause.
8. Let them go first.
If you start talking at the same time someone else
is trying to finish their thought, STOP, apologize with
“I'm sorry, please continue” and let them finish before
responding. Even if what you have to say is an answer
to the question they raised or is important, show them
your respect by letting them finish first.
9. Listen for the unstated message.
Are you able to pick up on a person's message that
lies beneath their words. By listening intently, you
will grasp the topic and move more effectively into
the conversation. Most people are looking for encouragement,
answers or insights to the subjects they discuss. By
listening deeply and connecting with the other person,
you will communicate more effectively.
10. Do not change the subject.
When engaged in a conversation, don't change the subject
until the discussion is completed. I observe people
who do this all the time in small group settings, business
networking and social situations. If you change the
subject prematurely, you exhibit a lack of interest
in the discussion (and the people) and indicate that
what you have to say is of higher importance.
11. Do not participate or start a side conversation.
When you are part of a group conversation, never start
a side conversation, even if the person talking is not
making eye contact with you. If you find yourself bored
with the conversation try harder to connect with the
speaker. Your boredom is merely a symptom of your disconnection.
At first appearance these tips seem so natural and
common place. It would seem that these are easy to implement.
But doing it consistently is the hard part. Being a
good listener requires an intentional effort and above
all, a sincere interest in other people. It is a skill
worthy of mastering. Listening is a skill that garners
respect and respected people are successful. I am committed
to working on being a better listener. Will you commit
to showing you care about people by incorporating these
eleven tips into your daily routine? On a scale of 1-10,
what's your commitment?