For a workplace to run smoothly, it is vital that workers are able to communicate clearly with one another and process information you take in.
Fortunately, being able to communicate well is a skill that can be learned and practised. One of the significant points that you will learn as you practice your communication skills is active listening. This skill enables you to create and strengthen your interactions with your colleagues, do practical problem-solving and analyse information for better productivity and discussion.
Want to practice your active listening skills? Here are some simple tips you can apply:
#1 Give Your Attention To The Speaker
When speaking to you, give your attention to them by making eye contact and focusing on what they are saying rather than thinking about your response.
#2 Make Use Of Body Language
Aside from eye contact, you can show that you are listening to someone by using body language. Speakers will look into your body language to determine if you are listening, much like how you are watching their movements as they talk. Keep your posture relaxed yet alert and nod to show you agree on specific points.
#3 Don’t Interrupt The Speaker
If you want to ask the speaker something to clarify a point or follow up on their statement, wait until they are finished talking. Use the time while you wait to pick up on crucial information and make notes to support your question or response.
#4 Don’t Focus On Creating Notes
While you listen to the speaker, keep your focus on them and not focus on making detailed notes that you can use to respond to the speaker. Keep track of keywords and phrases that caught your attention or want to clarify.
Once they stop speaking, you can review the keywords and phrases you noted and try filling it with the information you receive and your background knowledge. You can then ask for clarification once you miss details from your notes.
#5 Respond Honestly
Once the speaker is finished speaking, make sure to stay professional as you respond to their statement. If they were explaining something or sharing information, let them know you understood by repeating it in your own words. If they were asking you about your opinion, be honest and constructive about your response.
#6 Use Open-Ended Questions
When you ask questions, use open-ended questions to show that you understood what the speaker is saying. Open-ended questions can also prompt them to share more information and elaborate on them.
#7 Show Empathy
It would be best if you also made it a point to show speakers that you recognise their passion as they speak and share those emotions. When you show compassion, you will be able to connect with the speaker and build trust.
It is not difficult to practice and hone one’s active listening skills, and it can pay great dividends if you do it well. By redirecting your focus to the speaker, utilising body gestures and showing your understanding through your questions and responses, you will be able to prevent misunderstandings and do your job effectively.
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