Tip #2: Listen Actively

Posted on February 21, 2007. Filed under: Blog--All categories, Management development |

Most of us think we’re pretty good listeners when in fact we’re simply good hearers. That means we hear what the other person is saying, but while we’re hearing them we’re busy formulating our own responses. Instead, when we really listen to what is being said … and not being said … we convey a sense of caring and respect for the speaker of the message.

Have you heard the saying: we have two ears and one mouth; therefore, we should listen twice as much as we talk? I think that’s a pretty good formula. Nothing can make a person feel more important, more valued, and more respected than to really listen to what they are saying. And in the process of listening we just might learn something.

Listen actively by concentrating on what the person is saying. Here are some strategies you can use to improve your active listening skills:

  • Hold your own thoughts at bay and focus on what they are really saying.
  • Ask them questions to help draw out their opinions and ideas.
  • When you do ask questions, really listen to the answers rather than just using the questions to give yourself a place to jump in.
  • Avoid interrupting them when they do answer your questions.
  • Pause before responding. This pause will convey the sense that you actually listened to them while they were talking.
  • Pay attention to their body language. Note areas where they might be uncomfortable or where they express joy. Use those clues to ask questions and draw out more information.
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