How to be a Good Listener

good listener

The average human has an attention span of eight-seconds. So, it’s pretty common for anyone to zone out while the other person is talking. Listening means ignoring every distraction and giving your full attention to the person to whom you are speaking. When people say they want to be heard, what they are really saying is that they want their leaders to not just hear them, but really listen to them. In business, listening is the key to effective working relationships among employees. Listening skills also improve a company’s interaction with customers. When you listen to your customer’s requests and queries, you’re able to gather all the information and then make the appropriate changes to fit your customer’s need.

1) Focus on who you’re talking to: Clear your head of the distractions and try to focus on the speaker and less on what’s going around you. Listening demands full attention as difficult as it may sound. Try to shut off your own agendas and listen to what the other has to say.

2) Ask Questions: Try to ask as many as you can to acquire more information so that you can make decision that benefit your business. Asking question regarding what the other person is saying shows that that you’re actually paying attention to him. Questions provide the best opportunity for people to elaborate on the topic and will keep the conversation flowing smoothly. Complaints heard by a supervisor about a health risk on the job can help reduce injuries and improve job performance. A conflict can arise when an individual feels misunderstood or mistreated, so try to ask more questions to clear everything out.

3) Repeat what you heard: You should always repeat what the speaker said if you’re ever in a doubt and if the speaker agrees that what you repeated is what he or she said before, you can move on. If not, the speaker would reword his or her statement until the listener understands. Periodically seek clarification by paraphrasing what you have just heard to convey the other person that you are paying attention.

4) Wait until the other person finishes: As a listener, you have let the other person finish what he or she is trying to say first and then discuss your opinions regarding the issue. Patience plays a significant part in a conversation. Being so focused on trying to get ones view over is considered insensitive and rude. Interruption can make the other person forget his or her point. You don’t have to necessarily agree with the speaker, but imagine how he or she feels and try to fully understand with their point of view.

5) Body Language: Listening also involves nodding at certain moments, leaning forward and maintaining eye contact. Allow your body language to convey that you are paying attention. You should also pay close attention to the speaker’s tone, facial expression and stance. These would help you determine his or her attitude and emotions.