Active Listening

–  Keep your mouth closed (It’s felt that if your mouth is open your ears will close).

–  Keep eye contact (this helps with attention levels).

–  “Listen” to the speaker’s body language.

–  Put aside distracting thoughts. Don’t mentally prepare a rebuttal (counter argument)

–  Acknowledgment can be something as simple as a nod of the head or a simple “uh huh.” You aren’t necessarily agreeing with the person, you are simply indicating that you are listening. Using body language and other signs to acknowledge you are listening also reminds you to pay attention and not let your mind wander

–  Encourage the speaker to continue with small verbal comments like yes, and uh huh

–  Reflect what has been said by paraphrasing. “What I’m hearing is…” and “Sounds like you are saying…” are great ways to reflect back.

–  Ask questions to clarify certain points. “What do you mean when you say…” “Is this what you mean?”

–  Take notes (this will help with paraphrasing) .

–  Don’t frown and fidget.

–  Let the person know if you have accepted or rejected what they have said and the rationale why..

–  Don’t suggest words or finish sentences when a pause occurs.

–  Listen, don’t solve or judge.

–  If time is an issue let the person know and schedule more time, or ask “let’s summarize what we’ve decided”.

–  Let the person know if more facts are required prior to decision making or for further discussions.

–  Be aware of your “non” listening behaviors ex. pencil tapping, raised eyebrows, blank stares, “zoning” out.

[via book For Your Improvement by Michael Lombardo and Robert Eichinger and MindTools]


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