Listening is an effective part of communicating, and a key component to strengthening relationships. Taking the time to actively listen to a client, colleague or supplier shows them that their thoughts are valued.
Did you know? Adults spend an average of 70% of their time engaged in some sort of communication, of this an average of 45% is spent listening compared to 30% speaking, 16% reading and 9% writing.
It is crucial, then, that we focus on actively listening, so here are our top tips for you to improve your communications skills.
- Don’t interrupt – When an idea comes to mind, we try and force it into the conversation as quickly as possible. Interrupting a conversation gives a vibe that you aren’t interested in what the person has to say, which can cut the conversation short and lead to you missing out on important information.
- Maintain eye contact – Keep a healthy level of eye contact to let the speaker know you’re paying attention, this builds a connection between people. To avoid distraction keep focused on the conversation rather than looking at your phone or laptop.
- Ask the speaker for clarification – If you are confused about what someone has just said, don’t fill in the blanks with false statements. Ask the speaker to share additional information or a specific example, which will show a) you have been listening and b) you are interested in what has been said.
- Understand their point of view – We aren’t always going to agree with what someone else is saying, but looking at issues from their perspective will help you to understand the topic. If you totally disagree, take time to construct an argument to counter what has been said but keep an open mind about their opinion.
- Give and gain regular feedback – Let your speaker know that you’re listening by reflecting their feelings. Give them a compliment to what they’re saying: “that’s interesting” or give them the occasional nod to show you are paying attention.
If you would like to speak to one of our experts please contact us today on 01785 247588 or click here.