Effective Communications: Active Listening
Patience is a virtue and when it comes to effective communication being patient can pay big dividends. Communication is not a one way street with the conversation flowing only one way. It is a back and forth reality that involves listening and paying attention to the other as it does talking and saying what is on your mind.
When we are engaged in a conversation with someone else, all too often we sit politely or now and then not so politely waiting for our turn to say what is running through our minds. In other words, while the other person is talking we are busy rehearsing our own speech rather than paying close attention to what the person is saying.
The fact that we can parrot or repeat back what they said, often word for word is how we satisfy ourselves that , of course, I am listening, when what your really need to be able to do is paraphrase. When you reword, and retain the meaning, you show the person or persons, with whom you are speaking, that you not only heard the words they were using but understood the meaning conveyed by those words.
Active listening requires:
1- Make eye contact, you must look the other person in the eye, not constantly but regularly.
2- Sit or stand straight.
3- Pay attention also known as being in the moment. Hear what they are saying and stop going over your lines. Communication is not a movie but real life. Be sincere.
4- Pay attention to your audience’s body language. This is a tool for gauging how your words are affecting them. Are your audience’s eyes, for example, fixed upon you are are they looking around the room. Are they whispering to each other or looking at their watches. Pick up on the clues and adjust.
If you want to be respected then you must show respect. If you follow the above process when engaged in a conversation, you will have taken a major step towards showing and gaining respect. Now you have a strong foundation, mutual respect, upon which to build a personal or professional relationship.
Listening is an active experience, make
eye contact, nod your head now an then to indicate you are following
the speaker. Hold your questions until it is time to ask them. Do not
let your desire to ask a question interrupt your concentration, you
will get your turn to speak.