The other day I caught up with someone who described himself as a great listener. Considering 20 minutes into the ‘conversation’ I hadn’t said a word, his idea about talking and listening was a little screwed up.

It made me think about listening. I believe it’s everything. It can be the difference between getting the sale or not, getting a journalist interested in you, or let’s face it….getting a second date.

When I started exploring my personal brand I realised that as an introvert I listen a lot. In a conversation I’ll ask questions, rather than talk. In a meeting I’ll do the same.

But it’s more than just listening. It’s being present. You know when you’re talking to someone and they just don’t seem to be paying attention or they talk over the top of you. That’s annoying and makes you want to ditch the conversation.

Becoming a better listener can improve productivity as well as your ability to influence and negotiate. And who doesn’t want that! So how can you become a better listener? Here are some thoughts.

Be in the conversation
Don’t think about what you’re going to watch on Netflix that night, stare over their shoulder or think about the next thing you want to say. Pay attention and actively hear what they are saying so you can understand, respond and remember the conversation.

Visual cues
Think about the last conversation you were in when the person didn’t show they were listening. I’m sure it impacted how you felt about them. Have eye contact and nod to show you’re listening, as well as verbally with words such as yes and uh huh. You might want to also mirror their body language.

Don’t interrupt
This is one of my pet hates. Don’t interrupt or speak over the person. It frustrates the speaker and makes them feel that their words are not important. We all think and speak at different rates, so allow the other person to speak at their own pace.

I feel that genuine listening is beautiful. You are gifting the person your time and attention and showing them you care. It builds relationships, rapport with colleagues and makes the world a better place.

 

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Catriona Pollard
From Unknown To Expert
CP Communications

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