Effective Listening for Empowerment: 5 Tips Guaranteed to Make You a Better Listener
What’s one skill that’s difficult to master? Communication. It may be a simple thing to talk to coworkers, friends, and clients, but what about listening? I know how important effective listening for empowerment is, both in and out of the workplace. That’s why I offer consulting services for the improvement of your listening skills.
No matter what business you’re in, one of the most important skills you can have is active listening. If you think you’re in need of improvement, don’t worry – most people are. I’ve compiled a list of five easy steps you can take on your own to become a more effective listener. Try them out for a week and prepare for amazing results.
5 Tips to More Effective Listening
1. Limit distractions
Start your conversations by limiting distractions. Whether you’re meeting with a client, talking with your boss, or chatting with a friend, create an environment you can listen in. Yes, this means turn off the phone, unplug the earbuds, and put the computer to sleep. Face the speaker and maintain eye contact, giving them your full attention. It may be difficult to do the first few times, but putting yourself in the moment is worth it.
2.Keep it closed
It’s tempting to interrupt, but if you want to be an effective listener you need to do exactly that: listen. Don’t jump in to finish sentences or offer solutions. Not only is it rude, but chances are you aren’t being as helpful as you think. Wait to ask clarifying questions, and don’t offer opinions unless the speaker asks for them.
3.Concentrate Seems simple right? Concentrating on the conversation is easier said than done. When you find your mind wandering, force it back to the conversation. Try to picture what the speaker is saying, and concentrate on their nonverbal cues. Give regular feedback to keep yourself on topic.
4. Show empathy
Mirroring is the act of reflecting a speaker’s feelings with your facial expressions. It helps the speaker know you’re paying attention. Is the speaker talking about an upsetting experience? Don’t smile through the whole thing. Sharing a funny story? Laugh along. You can also try paraphrasing and giving regular feedback to show that you’re listening.
5. Listen to understand, not to respond
Most of us listen to reply, but a truly effective listener is there to understand. No matter who you’re listening to, keep an open mind about what they’re saying. When in doubt, follow the rule of the three J’s: as a listener it’s not your job to:
Judge: don’t be critical before you’ve heard them out.
Justify: don’t feel the need to defend your own opinion or you’ll never learn theirs.
Jump in: you might think you know what they’re going to say, but chances are you don’t.
I can guarantee that when you listen to understand, it shows. Let the speaker have their time to communicate, and they will often give you the same opportunity.
Empower Your Business
When it comes to communication there’s always room for improvement. Nowhere is this more true than in the business world. Ray LaManna’s HR consulting is here to help your business become better at communicating through effective listening. Don’t let communication cost you clients, employees, or profit. Empower your employees by giving them the tools they need to become active listeners.
As a certified consultant with years of experience, I’ve got the knowledge to help your business. Let me use my expertise to help you and your business! Feel free to visit my website for more information about the consulting services I offer or to contact me with questions or comments.