Listening is so important because it builds trust and understanding, shows care for the other person and will help you unlock a treasure trove of information.
So, what can you do to become a better listener? Practice these important active listening skills every day:
- Practice silence and learn the power of the pause. Allow others to speak without interjecting.
- Work on communicating nonverbally. Remember things like how close you are to the other person (proxemics) or how you move (kinesics) all contribute to the way you communicate.
- Learn to encourage others to speak more by asking open-ended questions and use phrases like, “tell me more.”
- Try parroting, or repeating what the other is saying after they say it. It shows interest without you interjecting your own feelings or thoughts.
- Or experiment with paraphrasing. Paraphrasing is like parroting, but in your own words. Learn how to check for understanding by sharing with the other what you are hearing from them.
- Active listening is all about showing empathy. Empathy means doing your best to feel as another person feels, or put yourself in their position.