Listening is one of those things that can be taken for granted. Everyone wants to be heard but listening back is something people take for granted.
It is important to remember in our high-tech, super-fast world that listening is key.
Just because we can easily function remotely and have multiple conversations via social media all at once do not forget that we are all still human. We are social creatures who thrive on interaction between each other (not just a computer or tablet). No computer ever made will make up for a living, breathing human being.
Here are some tips for active listening…
1) Slow down and breathe – don’t hurry them. You may miss an important point or make the person fell unimportant if you are in a rush.
2) Focus on the person you are listening to – Make listening the only thing you do. Stop multitasking! This way you make the person feel comfortable with you and not like they are a burden. Listen to all the words they say. Watch them form the words. Really be interested in what they are saying.
3) Make eye contact – look the person in the eyes, let them know that you are absorbing what they are saying.
4) Do not interrupt – Let them say what they have to say. Do not put words in their mouth and do not try to assume you know what they want to say.
5) Ask questions – be concerned, really LEARN about what the person is trying to tell you. Be interested.
Don’t expect to be a perfect listener from day one. Listening is something that you need to work on daily and keep reminding yourself about. If you feel yourself start to take over a conversation take a deep breathe and slow yourself down.
Be conscious of how your listening skills effect your relationships with other people. You will be amazing at how open people become when they realize that you actually care about what they have to say.
Try it out yourself and let us know how it works for you!