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active listening, communication skills

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.

What are non-verbal cues in communication?

These are cues like tone of voice, facial expressions, a person posture.

infographic nonverbal communication, non-verbal communication

Effective listening is more than listen first talk second, effective listening is active listening.

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 too.

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, 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, 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, also those who confront you and challenge you. It is through challenges and stretching your mind that you grow.

Effective listening is more than Listen first talk second. Communication is a two-way street. A listener listens to receive the information being spoken and vice versa. Effective listening: Are you a good listener? 

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