TIP #10: Listen actively
Be a good listener. Unlike your mouth,
your ears will never get you in trouble. ~ Frank Tyger
Becoming an active listener means that you make a conscious effort to truly hear what the other person is saying – by paying attention to their words as well as their body language.
Active listening is an acquired skill that requires you to make a conscious effort to focus on what is being said — not just the words, but the entire message.
Here are a few important active listening tips:
1) Practice holding off thinking about how to respond until you have thoroughly heard what they are saying.
2) Do not allow yourself to be distracted.
3) Make appropriate eye contact with the speaker.
4) Show you are listening by nodding.
5) Don’t interrupt. Allow the speaker to finish making his point before you respond.
6) Ask open ended questions for clarification to make sure you understand.
7) Summarize what you heard.
Active listening shows respect and engagement and will increase your success at understanding the message intended. Practice listening. Really listening.
Use these tips in each conversation you have: avoid distractions, focus on the speaker, make eye contact, don’t interrupt, and ask questions to clarify your understanding.
Betty Lochner is a communication specialist, author, and professional speaker who teaches individuals and organizations how to make small changes that make huge differences in their relationships at work and home – improving morale, confidence and productivity. She is the author of Dancing with Strangers: Communication skills for transforming your life at work and at home and 52 Communication Tips. Both are also available on Amazon.com. For more information on communication training and services, visit cornerstone-ct.com.