Are you a good listener? Good listeners actively try to understand what is being said. Good listeners listen to the message and also interpret the non-verbal cues. A good listener has a balance between talking and listening.
A bad listener interrupts the person, responds with a remark that does not fit the topic or monopolises the conversation with talk, talk, talk.
There is more to listening than listening, there are many non-verbal ways to communicate that send listening signals to the person you are talking with. These are cues like tone of voice, facial expressions, and a person’s posture.
A to Z of non-verbal communication.
Effective listening is active listening. Below are some signals of non-verbal communication.
- Active listening
- Clarifying understanding with body language like nodding
- Eliminate fidgeting
- Focus on the conversation
- Gestures, use of hands in conversation
- Hold eye contact
- Introduce with a smile
- Judge not, be open-minded
- Keep calm
- Lean slightly forward
- Monotone – use tone to express
- Nod, yes and nod no
- Observe body language
- Pay Attention
- Question your own body language. What does your body language display?
- Respect, be respectful, listen wholeheartedly and actively, with no bias
- Shake hands with a firm grip
- Tone – use tone to express joy, sadness
- Use body language
- Wait to respond
- X marks the spot. Remember personal space
- You can mirror body language, but don’t overdo it
- Zip it. Be quiet and listen
Tips for active listening.
- Build rapport and establish trust. To build rapport and establish trust ask an open-ended question, “How can I help you”, “What attracted you to this business opportunity?”. Than listen. Listen wholeheartedly to the person you are talking to.
What are open-ended questions? Open-ended questions are questions where more than a yes, no answer is given.
- Show that you care. Smile, use the person’s name and be empathetic and non-judgemental. You need to withhold judgement when listening. It is hard to listen to understand when judging a person. A good listener actively listens and asks questions, and builds rapport and trust.
- Clarify by paraphrasing. A good listener clarifies by paraphrasing what was said. In your own words, a good listener clarifies by paraphrasing. A good listener asks if they understood the message correctly. ‘If I’m hearing you correctly, you are currently seeking…’
- Acknowledging the speaker. Acknowledging the speaker can be as simple as nodding, or saying something like ‘I hear you’ quietly while listening.
- Seek to understand. When you listen first, talk second you seek to understand. You acknowledge that it is not about you. It is about others and understanding them, their thoughts, their business, and their lives. When someone likes you and trusts you they share not only the good, they share the pain, the bad and the difficult. You as a trusted person can share your ideas, actions, energy and results when you practice effective listening, listen first talk second.
The way to grow and develop skills is to listen to everyone, not just those who agree with you. It is through challenges and stretching your mind that you grow.
Effective listening is using active listening skills. A listener listens to receive the information being spoken and vice versa. Effective listening: Are you a good listener?