Your Listening Skills
is essential. While we often think of what we are saying or writing to
others as communication, listening and understanding what others are telling
us is just as critical. We have all had conversations that seemed to be
very one-sided with the other person not truly listening, hearing or understanding
what you are saying.
Here are some ideas
to help make sure others don't view your their conversations with you
as one-sided conversations.
- Stay focused.
Concentrate on what the person is saying and avoid the temptation of
letting your mind drift onto other topics.
- Don't interrupt.
Let the person complete what they are saying. Interrupting or being
too eager to jump in alienates the speaker and may prevent the speaker
from fully expressing himself.
- Show interest.
An occasional nod, "uh-huh" or "go on" demonstrates
that you are paying attention and are interested in learning what the
person is saying. If the conversation is taking place in person, take
- Pay attention
to your body language. Speakers get ongoing reactions from your
appearance. Making eye contact (without staring), leaning slightly forward,
nodding or stroking your chin conveys interest and improves your focus.
Also remember that your eyes and facial expressions are very revealing.
the whole message. Be sure that you truly understand what the speaker
is saying. Avoid the natural tendency to jump to a conclusion before
the speaker is finished.
- Look for intent.
Often a speaker will mention several items surrounding an issue
early in a conversation. Try to understand why the speaker is having
this conversation with you.
- Use questions.
Asking a question will show your attention, provide the speaker an opportunity
to refine what he said and give you the opportunity to learn more about
- Have empathy.
Putting yourself into the speaker's shoes will help you understand the
issue and prepare to respond more effectively.
- Start your response
effectively. After you have listened, try to summarize what you
are responding to. Consider using the phrase - "Let me make sure
These simple listening
aids can be used in almost any environment. Customers, employees, friends
and family will all appreciate your conversations more if you listen better.