An article written by a contributor on Forbes, Travis Bradberry, suggest that listening is a somewhat like ‘intelligence.’ Therefore, according to recent study conducted at George Washington University, good listening can influence up to 40% of a leader’s job performance.
Most people believe their listening capability is more than average, which unfortunately is not always the case, because accept it or not, listening is one of the virtuous abilities attached to wisdom, and we know that not everyone is wise.
However, you can be a great listener if you can master the seven things that make truly amazing listeners stand out from the crowd.
Read Also: 5 Ways To Be A More Disciplined Person
The biggest mistake most people make when it comes to listening is they’re so focused on what they’re going to say next or how what the other person is saying is going to affect them that they fail to hear what’s being said. The words come through loud and clear, but the meaning is lost. Focusing may seem like a simple suggestion, but it’s not as easy as it sounds. Your thoughts can be incredibly distracting.
#2 Set Aside Your Phone
It’s impossible to listen well and monitor your phone at the same time. Nothing turns people off like a mid-conversation text message or even a quick glance at your phone. When you commit to a conversation, focus all your energy on the conversation. You will find that conversations are more enjoyable and effective when you immerse yourself in them.
#3 Ask Good Questions
- What happened next?
- Why did he say that?
Asking simple and clarification question tells the person that you’re not only listening but that you also care about what they’re saying. You’ll be surprised how much respect and appreciation you gain just by asking good questions. In addition to verifying what you’ve heard, you should ask questions that seek more information. The key is to make certain that your questions really do add to your understanding of the speaker’s words, rather than deflecting the conversation to a different topic.
#4 Use Effective Body Language
Becoming cognizant of your gestures, expressions, and tone of voice (and making certain they’re positive) will draw people to you like ants to a picnic. Body gestures such as:
- Nodding when appropriate.
- Leaning forward to the speaker.
- Using an enthusiastic tone
- Uncrossing your arms
- Maintaining eye contact,
These are all forms of positive body language employed by great listeners.
#5 Practice Reflective Listening
Psychologist Carl Rogers used the term “reflective listening” to describe the listening strategy of paraphrasing the meaning of what’s being said in order to make certain you’ve interpreted the speaker’s words correctly. By doing this, you give the speaker the opportunity to clarify what she meant to say. When you practice reflective listening, don’t simply repeat the speaker’s words to her. Use your own words to show that you’ve absorbed the information.
#6 Don’t Pass Judgement
Open-minded people are more approachable and interesting to be with. No one wants to have a conversation with someone who has already formed an opinion and is not willing to listen. Having an open mind is crucial especially in the workplace, where approachability means access to new ideas and help. To eliminate preconceived notions and judgment, you need to see the world through other people’s eyes. This doesn’t require that you believe what they believe or condone their behavior; it simply means that you quit passing judgment long enough to truly understand what they are saying.
#7 Keep You Mouth Shut
If you’re not checking for understanding or asking a probing question, you shouldn’t be talking. Not only does thinking about what you’re going to say next take your attention away from the speaker, hijacking the conversation shows that you think you have something more important to say. This means that you shouldn’t jump in with solutions to the speaker’s problems. It’s human nature to want to help people, especially when it’s someone you care about, but what a lot of us don’t realize is that when we jump in with advice or a solution, we’re shutting the other person down. It’s essentially a more socially acceptable way of saying, “Okay, I’ve got it. You can stop now!” The effect is the same.
The good thing about being a good listener is that people feel comfortable confiding in you. So as busy as your life may be, don’t forget to be ‘still’ and listen once.