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Effective Listening

effective listening

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Effective communication is a vital tool for successful leadership. Being able to articulate clearly, to present and share ideas with others is extremely important. All too often listening becomes the poor relation everyone is busy talking but true communication does not take place unless each stakeholder is listening actively too.

Have you ever been in a room which is full of noise, everyone is contributing but no one hears.

Be an effective listener – strategies to help you.

All too often we are far more enthusiastic about talking than we are listening. Yet it is so vital if we are to communicate effectively. Most break downs in relationships are caused because people talk at each other without really making contact. Unless someone hears what has been said including the subtext the words have little value.

When we are actively listened to we feel valued and are far more likely to engage in negotiation and compromise.

Listening is about far more than words. Watching facial expression and body language is often a far more accurate barometer than the words that are being used.
Nice things being said where the smile doesnít reach the eyes is an obvious example.

To be an effective listener you must listen actively.

Tips to becoming a more effective listener

Make eye contact.

Read the body language of the talker. Are they relaxed, anxious, angry? Extremes are easy to recognise but often the message is much more subtle

Mirror the talkerís body language- subtly, a gentle dance rather than a caricature.

Show that you are listening, nod, make appropriate responses

Ask relevant questions, ask them to clarify if you are not clear about their meaning

Use open-ended questions, the who, what, where, when,

Be careful of the tone of your voice when you respond or ask questions. It is all too easy to come across as judgemental or as an interrogator from the Spanish Inquisition

Use empathy. Acknowledge difficulties, but be careful not to fall into the trap of going into anecdotes from your experience. ì I sense that you are finding this rather difficultî rather than ìOh I know, it happened to me but mine was bigger, more difficult etcî

Take a real interest, if you are simply going through the motions the lack of sincerity will be obvious to others. Leave your ego behind, concentrate on the other person.

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