Ever notice the body language of those we are speaking to? You can tell in an instant whether they are listening or not? Suppose they notice that in you too? Of course, they do.
We have to develop the art of listening through a process. The process is called active listening, this process involves the listener paying full attention to the speaker, and then summarizing or reflecting back what he or she has heard without evaluating or interpreting. This allows further clarification from the speaker if necessary. It also brings in this important element into the exchange:
Speaker A knows what Listener B has heard, AND knows that Listener B is taking the time to fully understand before responding.
This rarely seems to happen in our fast-paced environments where people talk over one another and interrupting is no longer the social faux pas that is was.
In active listening, it is important to learn to summarize and reflect smoothly, without appearing to mimic or repeat back in a robotic fashion. Useful phrases are:
• “As I understand it, what you are saying is…”
• “So your point is that …”
Another way to ensure you stay focused as an active listener is to keep eye contact when face to face and slow your internal thinking so you can genuinely HEAR what is being said, not what you think is GOING to BE said. Just this simply technique can save mounds of misunderstood discussions.
How do you become a better listener? The same way you become a better cellist- practice , practice , practice. Your people will learn to listen by watching you. Why not even discuss how to listen more effectively with them. Sure can’t hurt.
Next time , we will cover non verbal communication and how this affects the responses people get.
To your continued success,
The Profitable Business Coach Nancy