There is no doubt that communicating well with others, whether it’s your coworkers, your spouse, a waiter at a restaurant, or your boss, can have a significant impact on your life in the short, and long run. Listening is a big part of the equation. Let’s take a look at some tips to be a more effective listener.
Give all your attention to the other person
Whether it is a work relationship or personal relationship, it is important to mindfully give all your attention to the person with whom you are communicating.
You have to actually WORK at listening
You may need to remind yourself that you are listening to someone and that what they are saying is important. Focus on what is being said and actively try to process and retain their message.
Show interest in what the other is saying
No need to make a big production out of it but provide some feedback after they speak. You can also practice mirroring where you subtly but intentionally mimic their body language and speech patterns. Not interrupting is another way by which you can show genuine interest in what the other person is saying.
Eliminate or minimize distractions when possible
Most often it can be very difficult, if not impossible, to control the environment around you. But if you are at home, or in a private office at work, you may be able to take steps to minimize distractions, such as turning down music, turn off the tv, reposition your body away from your computer, etc.
No one likes an interrupter. Just shut your mouth and listen to what the other person is saying. Wait until they are done and then respond. Unless the building is burning down around you it’s very unlikely you need to interject your two-cents at the expense of what the other person is saying.
Have an open mind and consider what the other person is saying
Perhaps the reported schism in our country can be mitigated by people having a more open mindset. Remove the preconceived notions in your mind before a conversation and open yourself up to learning. Actually think about what the other person is saying and why. Is it possible it actually makes sense?
Pay attention and listen for ideas
We learn through communicating. The person standing in front you, speaking, may have a groundbreaking idea, and if you are only holding your breath to spit out whatever is on your mind you may miss a message.
Listen to the content and the delivery
It’s not always WHAT is said but HOW it is said. Pay attention to the delivery of the message. Take into account their mood, the emotion behind the message, and their body language. These factors can reveal hidden or true meaning.
Check your ego at the door
The percentage of people that find someone with a huge ego charming or charismatic is very limited in my estimation. We all want respect and to be heard. When communicating with someone else lose the ego and get on their level. You will be a better listener for it and may even earn some respect from the speaker.
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