Listening Skills

Published on 4th October 2017 in Productivity

Why listen?

If you don’t listen and dominate conversations – you run the risk of becoming closed to new ideas. People may regard you as being opinionated. Barriers will grow.

So, how can you develop the habit of active listening?

6 Tips to becoming a better listener

  1. Resolve to listen. Make a conscious decision. Tell your colleagues you are determined. Contract with them to point out when you are NOT in ‘listening mode’.
  2. Put it on the agenda. On meeting agendas, state that you want to listen to all the different views on a particular topic. Normally an agenda item that is described as a discussion point, is dominated by a few people and not all views are given airtime. Visible measures such as this will demonstrate your determination to listen.
  3. Sit on your hands. If you make a physical change like this, it will force you to remember that you need to go into your “listen mode”. This may sound crazy, but it really works.
  4. Do not interrupt. Resist the temptation to jump in and finish sentences. Once a point has been completed, simply ask WHY? This will put you back into listen mode and you’ll be amazed at the insights you’ll uncover The more you ask questions, the more you’ll understand people’s logic and motivations.
  5. Show that you are listening. Nod, smile, make very brief confirmatory comments such as ” I see”, “I understand”. Do not: look at (i) your watch, (ii) your smartphone or (iii) look out of the window. Instead. Focus on the speaker.
  6. Ask open questions. For example, “What’s your view on…?”. Do not ask questions that lead to a yes or no response. It does not encourage a flow of conversation. Open questions help you to settle into your listening mode.

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