Friday, September 06, 2013

Do You Practice Active Listening?

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There are those that hear your speaking and there are those that are truly listening to what you say. Which ones do you appreciate more? Which ones do you put your faith in? Which ones do you feel that you can depend on?

Active listeners do better socially and they do better on their jobs as well, so make sure that you exercise your active listening skills every day.

Here are some things that you can practice:

  • Pay attention. Make sure that you are not listening to two conversations at once or doing two things at once. Have you ever tried typing notes and having a conversation at the same time? Or looking up things on the Internet and having a conversation? It just doesn’t work. Stop doing other things while you are having a conversation.
  • Pay attention to body language. Words are only one of the ways that we communicate. Gestures can tell you how a person is feeling, their level of excitement, and the importance of the topic. Watch for facial gestures, hand movements, body stance, and the use of props to get the full message.
  • Give good feedback. Often when people are communicating they leave things out that they assume you know or they may drift away from what they were originally trying to say. Give feedback by summarizing the message, asking questions, sharing your own experiences for comparison, or even voicing objections if necessary.
  • Don’t come to conclusions until the speaker is done. Sometimes when we come to a conclusion during a conversation it is the wrong one. Wait until you have all the information before you make a conclusion so that you don’t jump ahead and start making assumptions about what the speaker is trying to convey.
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