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Listening tips

How well do you listen?

At school we're taught to read and write yet we're not taught to listen … it's assumed that we can all do it.

Have you ever been caught out focusing on a task while someone is trying to speak with you? You say that you're listening whilst doing something else but in reality you're hearing the words (well hopefully you are) and not listening to the message.

Then there's the situation where you appear to be giving your full attention to the person when in actual fact you're thinking about the next thing that you're going to say, missing what is actually said. Many people do this whether they realise it or not. The end result is that the person you're having a conversation with doesn't respond to you in the way that you'd expected. You could even receive comments such as, 'I wish you'd really listen to what I'm saying!'

It's easy to fall into the trap of hearing rather than listening … and with that comes the temptation to interrupt. This is not a good habit to develop when communicating in a business context.

Five tips

Here are five tips to assist you in developing your listening skills:

  1. Listen to the words that are being said as well as the feelings behind those words
  2. Be aware of your personal biases
  3. Stay in the moment – ignore mental and environmental distractions
  4. Concentrate on the person who is speaking – their body language, facial expressions and tone of voice
  5. Do not interrupt or change the subject

With practise, your ability to really listen will improve your ability to communicate effectively with others. This in turn will help you to build strong working relationships.

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Maria Pantalone

Maria Pantalone is the author of Success Talks: Conversations with Everyday Leaders. Maria works with individuals and teams to make communication their strength so that their message is heard. She provides tailored programs in presentation skills, business writing and effective communication as a leader and team member. Maria’s programs help her clients to excel in their role and be recognised as leaders in their field.
30 Business Communication Tips

Looking for tips to help you with your speaking, writing and interpersonal communication?

Then download my free ebook, 30 Business Communication Tips.

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