Picture this… You’re having a nice conversation with your friend or spouse or coworker. You’re really listening closely. You’ve got the eye contact going, you’re nodding your head and you’re even sitting on the edge of your chair. Then suddenly you realize that your mind has drifted and you think: OMG – I have no idea what you are saying! PLEASE don’t ask me a question because I have no clue what you are talking about!!!
Well, I guarantee that you are not alone. As important as listening is, we have never had any formal training. Think about it, in school we are taught reading and speaking and writing – all important forms of communication – but we are never taught how to listen.
So today I’d like to share with you some tips that helped me improve my listening skills. Some are common sense and you’re probably already using them, but I bet you’ll find at least one or two that are new to you. One or two that can help you be the best listener possible.
- Eye contact
- Lean in
- Ask open ended questions
- Visualize what the speaker is saying
- Try to feel what the speaker is feeling
- No distractions – like your phone
- Practice patience
- Find your reason for listening
Think of listening like a muscle – the more you use it, the stronger it gets. Try some of the suggestions above and let me know which ones work best for you. I’d love to hear from you.