Having a conversation with another person is a relatively easy thing to do. Or is it?
When it comes to the listening component of a conversation many of us find it difficult to do just that … listen.
Quite often we're thinking of the next thing that we want to say and only half listen to the other person.
Worse still, if a person feels 'stuck' in a conversation and is not genuinely interested, they may start to lose eye contact by looking over the other person's shoulder.
They may also demonstrate disinterest with their body language. This could be through subtle and not so subtle messages such as closed body language, checking the time on their watch, leaning away or even partially turning away from the person. Some may become distracted by their phone or if seated at their desk may even turn to attend to email messages during the conversation.
Nothing is more insulting to a person than to be made to feel that what they have to say is not valued.
'It is just as rude to step on someone's thoughts as it is to step on someone's toes.'
Five tips to show you are listening
If you know that you have limited time, indicate that from the start of the conversation. By doing this, if you need to check the time the other person is aware that you have another appointment.
Show that you are interested in what the other person is saying through eye contact and open body language.
Allow the other person to finish what they are saying. Do not interrupt them.
Listen to what they say and how they say it – the 'how' can often give you more information than the 'what'.
Avoid using technology during your conversation – give the other person your undivided attention.
Common sense and courtesy
Some may say that these tips are common sense and common courtesy. Unfortunately not everyone shows common sense and courtesy on a regular basis. Make sure that you do. The person with whom you are speaking with will appreciate it … and may even reciprocate.
People remember how you made them feel more than what you said to them. By following these five tips, you will show that you value your conversation partner.
Using common sense and common courtesy can deliver long-term benefits with minimal effort.
Do you have a preferred tip to share?