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Posts tagged ‘Hearing’

Say What? Part 2

So what does active listening entail? How do you do it?
Listed below are a few tips to help us all be better listeners and for those talking to know that we are doing more than a surface job of hearing what they say. Remember, hearing is what most everybody is able to do in a conversation, listening is what the sincere Leader does!
Pay attention.

Give the speaker your undivided attention, respect, and acknowledge the message. Recognize that non-verbal communication also “speaks” loudly.

  • Look at the speaker directly. Make eye contact if possible.
  • Put aside distracting thoughts. Don’t mentally prepare a rebuttal!
  • Avoid being distracted by environmental factors. Concentrate of what is being said.
  • “Listen” to the speaker’s body language. Observe the non-verbal’s but don’t let it take you away from the conversation.
  • Refrain from side conversations when listening in a group setting. Focus, focus, focus!

Show that you are listening.

Use your own body language and gestures to convey your attention.

  • Nod occasionally.
  • Smile and use other facial expressions.
  • Note your posture and make sure it is open and inviting. Don’t cross your arms or roll your eyes.
  • Encourage the speaker to continue with small verbal comments like yes, and uh huh.

Provide feedback.

Our life experiences and beliefs can distort what we hear. As a listener, your role is to understand what is being said and put aside prejudices. This may require you to reflect what is being said and ask questions for clarification.

  • Reflect what has been said by paraphrasing. “What I’m hearing is.” and “Sounds like you are saying.” are great ways to echo back.
  • Ask questions to clarify certain points. “What do you mean when you say.” “Is this what you mean?”
  • Summarize the speaker’s comments periodically, just don’t cut off the speaker to do so.

Tip: If you find yourself responding emotionally to what someone said, say so, and ask for more information: “I may not be understanding you correctly, and I find myself taking what you said personally. What I thought you just said is ***; is that what you meant?”.

 Defer judgment.

Interrupting is a waste of time. It frustrates the speaker and limits full understanding of the message.

  • Allow the speaker to finish no matter how you may feel about what is being said.
  • Don’t interrupt with counter arguments. This makes the entire conversation useless and puts those around you on edge and an understanding becomes farther away if not impossible.

Respond Appropriately.

Active listening is a model for respect and understanding. You are gaining information and perspective. You add nothing by verbally attacking the speaker or otherwise putting him or her down.

  • Be candid, open, and honest in your response but remain respectful. Remember that diversity is valuable in all areas of life.
  • Assert your opinions respectfully. Keep in mind that everyone has opinions and your’s is no more important that their’s.
  • Treat the other person as you would want to be treated in the same situation.
These are just a few ways to enhance your active listening skills, not to mention your personal and professional relationships.
Until next time, Listen, Listen and then Listen again!!!
Rod