Missing Half the Conversation? Tips to Practice Active Listening
By JC Heinen on May 31, 2012
When listening, are you focused, interested and engaged? Or distracted and impatient? Perhaps you’ve had the experience of someone bowed over the conference room table texting while you’re presenting at a meeting. Maybe you’ve heard the click clack of computer keys at the other end of a conference call. In a business world where multi-tasking is the norm, active listening is becoming a lost art. Yet the ability to listen is one of the key components of effective communication and leadership.
In “Learning to be a Power Listener,” Fast Company blogger Ernie Ferrari writes, “To improve your listening skills, you must first figure out exactly what is keeping you from seeking and hearing the information you need.”
Active listening is a great engagement tool, demonstrating that you are interested in and value the perspective of your employees. Consider your listening style and practice these skills:
• Face the speaker and maintain eye contact
• Keep distractions to a minimum
• Give the speaker your full attention
• Actively engage by responding appropriately
• Let the speaker finish
Good listening skills can have a tremendous impact on your effectiveness as well as provide a solid foundation for building strong relationships. Some studies report that we pay attention to less than half of what we hear. Practicing these tips can help you hear the whole message.
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