“We have two ears and one mouth so we can listen twice as much as we speak,” said almost everyone’s mother at some point in childhood. But how true! I really didn’t pay too much attention to that phrase as a child, but as I grew older and am now a working professional, that phrase has a lot more meaning.
Being a good listener has a multitude of benefits, such as making someone feel worthy or appreciated. We also need to listen to gather information and understand. In our personal lives, when we listen, we build stronger relationships, which become much more meaningful. The same thing happens in our professional lives. If we can become good listeners, think about how that can increase your job productivity!
Here are 5 tips to help improve your listening skills:
- Look directly at the speaker: Keep eye contact and maintain positive body language. This will help you stay engaged.
- Focus: Try not to be distracted by your own thoughts. Quite often, we spend our “listening time” thinking about what we are going to say next, instead of focusing on what the speaker is saying.
- Don’t interrupt: Allow the speaker to finish and avoid giving your advice if they didn’t ask for it. Jumping in mid-sentence can be very frustrating for them.
- Keep an open mind: It’s OK to have a different opinion, but listen to the whole story before you form one. It’s always a good idea to ask a few questions for clarity.
- Respond appropriately: Let the speaker know you are listening by acknowledging them with simple words like “really” or “OK” and asking appropriate questions to learn even more.
Enhance your listening skills … it’s OK to be quiet for a while!