Are you a good listener?

Listening skills are very important, in all aspects of life, from personal to professional. They help build strong relationships and help us to be more effective in whatever it is we do. We are all in roles that require us to listen in some form or another, whether it is with colleagues or customers, and how we do this is very important. Even more so when going for an interview or having important meetings.

Here are some techniques you can try and apply wherever you feel you need to

Asking questions
This shows interest in what the person is saying. Questions that start with "what" or "why" tend to invite the speaker to expand the conversation

Not taking over the conversation

By taking over you are not giving yourself a chance to listen, and the speaker will feel like you aren’t interested in what they have to say

Just listening and not multitasking

It is easy to get distracted with all the technology we have around, even if you think you are a great at multitasking, occupying yourself on more than one thing reduces your ability to fully take in everything and react appropriately

Reassuring the speaker
Encourage the speaker with words like, “go on” “tell me more”

Think before responding

Don’t feel rushed into a response, take a little bit of time to think about what the person has said or asked, and respond appropriately without blurting anything out.

Turn your feet towards to speaker

The feet are the body parts furthest away from the brain and under the least conscious control. Therefore, the feet point to where the mind wants to go. Pointing away will show disengagement.

Mirroring the speaker
Mirroring helps build rapport with the other person, and it encourages the feeling that you share similar attitudes and ideas.

Have the right amount of eye contact

Anytime you spend looking around the room while someone else is talking, it's a sign you aren't listening. Sometimes people psychologically check out of a conversation but are conditioned not to hurt someone's feelings by looking away. So they over-correct and maintain too much eye contact. It is vital to get the right balance

Stating the obvious here, but yawning shows great disinterest and boredom. So best to hold all those yawns in if you feel one coming.

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