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Communication skills – being a good listener

Improving communication through better listening

Being a good communicator means being a good listener. Most great communicators listen more then they speak.
The reason for this fact is fairly simple.

  • When you’re a good listener you understand the people around you better
  • You reduce the amount of communication errors and therefor save a lot of time fixing these error
  • You’ll achieve a stronger relationship with whom you’re listening to (nobody wants to feel unheard)

While this might sound obvious, we often forget that listening is essential for effective communication.

So to grasp in on this fundamental aspect, here are some tips on how to improve your listening.

 

Body language

First of is the appropriate body language. I know it’s hard to be aware of how we appear to others through our body language. But there are just a few rules you have to remember when listening to someone.

  • Face the person directly and make sure you have good eye contact.
    Keeping direct eye contact shows you’re paying attention
  • Have an open posture and use gestures like nodding your head to signalize interest.
    Appearing repellent, hiding behind your desk or a negative use of your hands and arms (folded arms) won’t make people want to talk to you

 

Just listen (without distractions)

Next up is the act of listening itself. It’s important to focus directly on the person speaking. Put down any other work that will divide your attention. If your reading e-mails, texting on your smartphone or watching the clouds flow by through the window, the person speaking to you will have the impression of being ignored.
So put aside all possible distractions and just listen.

 

Listen without judging

Now when listening to someone we often tend to judge the person talking before they finish there statement. We believe we know what will be said and start thinking about what we want to answer, therefor we tend to miss important essentials of what was actually said.
So when listening, push all your assumptions and judgment aside and start judging what was said after you’ve gathered all facts in the end.

 

Take notes

Being confronted with a lot of information you won’t be able to memorize every single detail. So take notes of what was said. Not only does it show you are taking „note“ and being interested in what was said, it’s much easier to remember the specific details later.

 

Summarize

After listening to the person talking, give a short summery of what was said. Something like: „if I understood you correct you are saying that….“.
This way you can recap what you understood and clarify any misunderstanding if necessary.

 


 

Communication is key for any business, project or relationship. Trying to be a good listener will improve the communication and make your life a lot easier.

If you have any further tips or ideas drop me a line or leave a comment below.

Jaime

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