Listening Skills

Listening is the most underutilized skill we possess.  We have increased our activity levels, frequently multi-tasking and need to re-learn the singular act of effective listening.

Eight ideas to increase success with listening include:

  1. Value the interaction; you can’t learn less. Listen for ideas.
  1. Assume responsibility.  Even if the speaker is boring or redundant, work actively at listening. Confirm and clarify when appropriate
  1. Make it ­­­easy for someone to speak to you.  Maintain eye contact. Maintain a positive facial expression & posture. Provide non-verbal signals like nodding to show acceptance and interest.

4.  Clear your thoughts.  While you can listen six times faster than anyone can speak resist distractions; stop clicking your inner channel changer and stay with the speaker.

  1. Tune in with more that your ears.  Listen with your eyes and your heart as well.
  1. Take notes.  A short pencil is better than a long memory.
  1. Keep an open mind.  Keep listening even if you don’t agree… there may be more commonality than you initially realize.  Be aware of your biases and prejudices.
  1. Be prepared to paraphrase to demonstrate your understanding; this practice will actually increase your listening ability.