What Else To Do To Listen Better?

27 August

There is a lot of advice about active listening that everyone knows. For example, look into the other person’s eyes, repeat to them what they have said, and don’t interrupt them. But what are some other bits of advice to improve your listening that are not so well known?

I’ve collected some tips from my study of literature about listening and from my own experience.

1. Choose your turf. It’s very obvious but a lot of people don’t do it. Where will you have a conversation? If you expect a lot of distraction there, pick a different venue. Don’t rely on your focusing capacity. It is better to avoid distractions altogether.

2. Turn your body squarely towards the speaker. That would show that you are fully with them.
Don’t just turn your head. Remove your hands from your keyboard, if a colleague comes to talk while you are working at your computer,
If you decide to listen to a person, make a visible effort to stop doing what you were doing and connect with them.

3. Don’t finish abruptly. If the person got what she needed, don’t just turn away a split second after she told you ‘Thanks.’
If you on a call, don’t immediately hang up the phone. Pause for a moment.
If you finish too quickly, it may look like you were watching the time when you could end the conversation.

4. Use your uh-huh’s and nodding sparingly. They should support the other person’s flow. But if used frequently, they become an interruption to that flow.
If the person is talking profusely, just be present with what she is sharing.

5. Know your beliefs about listening. A lot of advice concentrates on behaviors. But if you hold certain beliefs just fixing behaviors won’t work. Your beliefs will still manifest in many subtle ways.
Here are a few beliefs that are obstacles to good listening:
– If I don’t disagree it means that I accept the other person’s point of view
– I’m the smartest person and I know what they will tell me
– Listening is a waste of time

What is some other uncommon listening advice that you use?

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