I call it, practice not art, because to be an effective listener you must practice every day. Sadly it’s a skill most people fail miserably. Most are so focused on what they have to say or contribute that they fail to understand and relate to whoever is talking. It’s completely disrespectful and self centered.
Yet, effective listening does so much for you. It builds instant trust with others, because they can tell you are genuinely interested. You gain valuable insights, knowledge, skills, love, and respect. If you’re in sales effective listening reveals all the critical information necessary to build relationships, handle stalls and objections, and make deals happen. If you’re a parent or in a relationship, listening builds bridges of trust, rapport and love.
So how do you become a better listener? Practice these 7 strategies with every conversation and you will drastically improve your skills and your future.
- Give them your undivided attention. Put down the iphone, blackberry, cell phone, stop emailing, texting, and tweeting and pay attention.
- Look them in the eye
- Listen to understand and empathize, so you can put things in your own words
- Repeat back to them key points for clarification
- If you have something to contribute or ask, write it down so you don’t forget. But do not interrupt their train of thought
- Take notes, nod, acknowledge them
- When they’re done talking engage them with questions and your own insights
Follow these 7 strategies, and you’ll open up a world of respect, cause your success to happen easier, and build a more fulfilling future filled with rich and deep relationships and greater knowledge.