Listening is an important aspect of communication and it can assist you in building stronger relationships. While many people overlook the importance of listening to others, being an active listener can give you the edge in your business relationships, as well as in any career path you choose.
Being an active listener can also give you the ability to resolve any problems that occur when communicating with others. There are times in which you and those you are communicating with will have disagreements, and active listening can allow you to reach a compromise which both of you can agree on. One of the first steps in becoming a good active listener is to maintain eye contact with the person you are speaking with.
When you make eye contact with the person you are speaking with, this shows the person that you are acknowledging what they are saying. In addition to this, making eye contact with the person you are speaking with shows that you have respect for them.
Not maintaining good eye contact while speaking accomplishes just the opposite. The person you are speaking with will often wonder whether or not you are listening to them, or are simply letting their words "go in one ear and out the other." Maintaining good eye contact is one of the most important factors in being an active listener. The next step towards becoming a good active listener is to stop whatever you are doing while speaking to someone.
Most of us are guilty of breaking this rule from time to time. We may be so busy doing something that when someone speaks to us, we acknowledge them, but continue what we are doing. When you stop what you are doing while someone speaks to you, you show that they are important, and what they are saying matters.
In addition to this, it can also allow you to focus on what the other person is saying. Most of us have had situations where someone was speaking to us while we were in the middle of doing something, and we had to ask them to repeat what they said because we did not hear them. This is a classical example of not being an active listener.
How to Increase Your Skills as an Active Listener
When someone is speaking to you, and you do not stop what you are doing to acknowledge them, you are sending across a message that you are not really interested in what they have to say. While this may not be your intention, and you do not wish to convey this message, this is exactly what happens.
To be a good active listener, you must engage the person you are speaking with, making them your center of attention. When you do not put down what you are doing when people are speaking with them, you can make them quite annoyed. The next step towards becoming an active listener is to show people that you are listening to what they are saying.
There are a number of ways you can do this. One of the best is to ask the person you are speaking with to clarify certain statements that you consider to be ambitious. You can also use body language to show people you are listening to them. One of the best ways to do this is via nodding your head when you agree with something.
However, you do not want to just pretend that you are listening to them by doing these things, since you will get caught if they ask you to elaborate on what they just said. Another important part of active listening is being able to watch for visual responses.
If you are speaking with someone who is hesitant to show emotions, or who has a hard time displaying their feeling, you will need to watch for visual clues. By looking for these clues, you will have a solid idea of the point they are trying to make.
However, you do not want to reveal to them that you are watching their visual responses, since this can cause them to feel uncomfortable. Despite this, you can ask questions which may allow you to get an idea of their true feelings. Active listening is an art, and those who are skilled at it can go quite far in this world. When many people first encounter the concept of active listening, they often wonder why it is so important.
Incorporate Active Listening into Your Life
Active listening is far more serious than it may first appear. Doing it successfully can often mean the difference between success and failure, particularly when it comes to getting a job. When you go to a job interview, actively listening to what the interviewer is saying is critically important.
If at any point in the interview they feel you are not listening to them, the interview will likely become a failure. If you are going to a business proposal, and you are looking to receive funding for a business plan you have developed, again, being an active listener can mean the difference between success and failure.