Six Simple Practices For Effective Listening
We all say we listen to what has been said, but do we really, deeply listen?
- Stop talking, especially that internal, mental, silent chatter. Let the speaker finish. Hear them out. It is tempting in a familiar situation to complete the speaker’s sentence and work out a reply. this assumes you know what they are going to say: you should instead listen to what they are saying.
- Put the speaker at ease by showing that you are listening. the good listener does not look over someone’s shoulder or write while the speaker is talking. If you must take notes, explain what you are doing. Take care, because the speaker will be put off if you look away or concentrate on your notes instead of nodding reassuringly.
- Remember that your aim is to understand what the speaker is saying, not to win an argument.
- Be aware of your personal prejudices and make a conscious effort to stop them influencing your judgement.
- Be alert to what the speaker is not saying as well as what they are. Very often what is missing is more important than what is there.
- Ask questions. this shows that you have been listening and encourages the speaker to develop the points you have raised. It is an active process, never more important than when you are meeting someone for the first time – when your objective should be to say as little and learn as much as possible in the shortest time.
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