Hi everyone! Have you ever found yourself on an online call while scrolling on your phone, checking your email, or thinking about your next task that day? Have you ever met a new person, asked their name, and then five minutes later completely forgot? I can answer yes to all of the above.
Today I am going to discuss how to become a better, active, listener because it is something that is so important in today’s world.
- Put all distractions away: I know that you might think that you are a great multi-tasker, but if you want to become a better listener, you need to focus on whatever is in front of you. We spend a majority of our day thinking about what we are going to do next and it distracts us from the task at hand. Silence your phone; turn off your texts on your computer and you will already be more prepared to listen.
- Body language: When you are talking to someone in person, body language is so important. The simple act of making sure you are facing the person you are talking to can help you focus on what they are saying. Also, better posture shows the person that you care about what they are saying and want to know more.
- Eye contact: I know eye contact can sometimes feel awkward or uncomfortable… it’s probably just my generation trained to stare at their phones, but it really comes in handy when trying to actively listen to others. Our mind follows where our eyes are so if your eyes are darting around the coffee shop, I’m sure your thoughts aren’t far behind.
- Draw interest from the other person: We are much more prone to be attentive listeners when the person who is speaking is interesting to us. If you find yourself having trouble listening to others, try and ask yourself what you can get out of the conversation. Even finding something trivial will help you stay engaged.
- Be present: Everyone has a lot on their plate these days. It seems like there are never enough hours in the day… hopefully I’m not alone in this sentiment! If you find yourself always thinking about what is next on the to-do list or what questions need to be asked at the end of the conference call, try to actively be present in conversations. It might be hard at first but training your brain to focus on the conversation at hand will make you a much better listener and will help retention.
Listening is important in both your professional and social lives. Most schools teach you how to read and write, but why don’t we have classes on how to listen? Many managers consider a good listener to be a top trait among new hires but find that new hires tend to be bad listeners, so we know there is a disconnect. There are many reasons for this but becoming a better listener can make those around you feel more appreciated. Try out these tips and see how much more productive you can be.
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