Being a great listener is a valuable skill that we can all work at improving and developing…but how often do you stop to consider just how good your listening skills are?
Here are some techniques you can try to increase the effectiveness of your listening skills:
- Concentrate on really hearing the speaker. Try to clear your mind of other thoughts or agendas you may have, and just focus on their voice.
- Two ears, one mouth! During conversations, aim to consciously listen for around 75% of the time and try to speak for only 25% of time. This is one of the most powerful ways to ensure that you are learning all you can from the other person. If you ask a question, be sure to really listen to their answer before asking another one.
- It’s not what you say… Use your body language to show the other person that you are interested in what they have to say. Nodding is a powerful but silent way of showing that you are interested in hearing them. Think about how you know when others are listening to you – for example you might notice them leaning forward and maintaining eye contact. Try to watch for physical gestures towards you and ensure that yours are compatible.
- Stay in the moment. Try not to think about what to say next whilst you are listening. Our brains work much faster than the human voice and therefore your brain can easily lose the ability to concentrate on the other person’s voice. As a better alternative, trust in the fact that you will get your chance to respond when they are done…and for a bonus tip: silence is okay too! It shows that you are respectfully listening and considering what someone has to say.
- Listen between the lines. Pay attention to the other person’s speaking style. Do they speak loudly, or softly? Slow or fast? Knowing which style people prefer means you are more likely to get agreement or ‘buy in’ if you also use their favoured style when it’s your turn to speak.
- Let them finish. Be patient and let the speaker finish each of their points before you offer your opinion or contribution. Taking time to check your understanding, or asking for time to summarise, shows the other person that you are really listening – and that you will expect the same from them.
Thanks for listening. Come back next week for help on making sure others want to listen to you!
Right Trax Training are a learning & development consultancy who are passionate about helping businesses to develop their people to be better at what they do. Get in touch today to find out how we can help.