WHAT? I wasn’t Listening. 5 Ways to Be a Better Listener
Weird-there are never articles about people who need to talk more and listen less. I guess I should take notes from Jacquline Whitmore’s article from Entrepreneur (Janauary 13, 2014), 5 Ways to Be a Better Listener:
1. Open up your body language. Your body language reveals your interest or disinterest in a story. When actively listening to someone, lean slightly forward and make eye contact. A simple smile and the occasional nod will show that you’re interested and engaged.
In situations where you feel slightly uncomfortable—such as a networking event—you may have a tendency to cross your arms, put your hands in your pockets or exhibit other forms of nervous behavior. These small physical barriers can discourage others from approaching you.
2. Stay engaged. If you’re in a busy area, focus more on the person you’re with and less on what’s going on around you. Similarly, while on the phone, turn your back to your computer and give the person you’re talking to your full attention. When you’re distracted by technology, it makes others feel unimportant.
3. Resist the urge to interrupt. It can be tempting to finish someone’s sentence to show you comprehend their message, but it can come off as rude. Listening builds trust. If you interrupt someone—even with good intentions—it denies the speaker the opportunity to fully express her feelings or opinions. To ensure that you won’t interrupt, always pause for a few seconds before responding.
4. Ask questions. The two most powerful words in a conversation are, “Tell me.” People will perk up when you ask them pertinent questions and listen attentively to their responses. If you take an active interest in the lives of others, they will return the favor.
Open-ended questions provide the best opportunity for people to elaborate on a given topic and will keep the conversation flowing smoothly. If you don’t understand the point someone is trying to make, ask for clarification or specific examples.
5. Practice empathetic listening. Listen not only with your ears, but with your eyes and your heart. You don’t have to necessarily agree with the speaker, but imagine how he or she feels. Put yourself in another person’s shoes to fully understand their point of view.
I usually get nervous that I’m going to forget some life changing comment I want to make and am more focused on that and forget to listen. And, in a family of three girls and mother, you had to talk fast, loud and over the other person to be heard. Sadly, I have, at times carried that obnoxious trait that over to business; and,I really wish there was a little ‘talk over’ taser that zapped my tongue to prevent me from going it again. Surely, there must be a phone app for that now?