We all know that listening is one of the keys to building relationships and winning work. But do we really listen?
Here are 5 tips to listening that will help:
- Ditch the distractions – you cannot multitask. If you try to multitask the other person will most likely feel insulted and you certainly won’t hear and observe everything you should
- Use your whole body, lean towards the speaker – even on the phone. Use facial expressions, shake your head, and use “non-verbal” verbalisms. It improves your listening – and indicates you are listening
- Keep it about them, not you. Use open-ended questions and let them tell their story. Don’t use them as foils for your hypotheses
- Acknowledge frequently – paraphrase their data and empathise with their emotions. Make sure you are hearing both correctly
- Think out loud. The biggest obstacle to listening is your own thinking. Think out loud – with the client. Doing so role-models collaboration and transparency. It says, I hear you, I value you and I respond to you with no hidden agenda.