Whether we constantly communicate with coworkers and stakeholders or we get to run weekly meetings, it is essential to acknowledge that listening is more important than talking. Interestingly enough, we do not get taught best practices to become a better listener, that’s why, today, I bring you three ways to succeed in this habit.
The good news about a topic like this it’s that these steps are based merely on practice. In other words, there’s no rush to be a perfect listener, but improving your listening skills every day is what produces enduring results.
- Truly care about the person you’re listening to and what they’re saying.
Sometimes, it is our job to listen to someone we do not like or admire or just someone we think is not a great communicator when enabling a conversation. We’re physically there, but mentally, we’re thinking about something else. Becoming a better listener means making a concerted effort to honestly care about the person you’re listening to and whatever they’re talking about. You can choose to do this. It is a conscious decision.
- Ask questions
Asking questions (making sure you’ve understood what you’ve heard) and follow-up questions (asking for more information) is a way of showing we’re actively paying attention to the development of what’s being shared and it not only creates a positive environment, but the conversation becomes more productive as this converts into an act-react dynamic where the possibilities to get to the main point or goal of the conversation becomes a very achievable thing to do.
- Stay present
Like the first point presented above, staying present relates to thoroughly enjoying the moment. Refrain from multitasking or looking at your phone or computer. Give your complete, full, and undivided attention. Make eye contact and use other non-verbal clues to help your speaker feel they’re the most important thing to you at that moment. This practice also elevates your leadership presence in any conversation. When you make them feel important, you become someone approachable.
Nowadays, listening is a hidden gem in many industries where those who master this kind of skill become the next leaders of a company or organization. Start by practicing one habit at a time, and you’ll see the results.