Being able to listen attentively is an invaluable skill. It often gets overlooked in a world where most people are too busy talking to take the time and focus on what others are saying. This skill can be acquired, though; with dedicated practice, one can develop the ability to take in information from spoken words and our environment. Developing the ability to be a great listener is an excellent investment. It will pay dividends personally and professionally.
Attentive listening has numerous benefits. As a leader, it can help one make sound decisions by hearing others’ perspectives, provide insight into how people process information, and help foster relationships by showing that you value their input. It also helps build empathy by deepening understanding of different cultures and backgrounds. On a more personal level, it allows us to gain valuable insight into ourselves and the world around us.
Building listening skills requires dedication and hard work–but like any skill set worth developing, the rewards can be significant. Here are some steps to get started:
LEARN TO OBSERVE BODY LANGUAGE
A person’s physical movements can provide insights into how they feel about a situation or topic – observe with curiosity rather than judgment.
FOCUS ON THE CONVERSATION
When engaging in conversation, practice focusing your full attention on the speaker without interruption or multitasking
Writing down key points during conversations will help you remember better afterward.
Asking questions shows you’re engaged in their story and reveals deeper meaning beyond the words themselves. Ask questions because you care, not just so you can find a solution. This is an area that I’m still working on myself.
Practice actively listening – repeating key elements of the conversation while asking clarifying questions when necessary.
Once a conversation has finished taking time to reflect on what was said – will help deepen your understanding of what was communicated.
The ROI of strong listening skills cannot be overstated; they allow us to stay connected with ourselves and others while providing opportunities for personal and professional growth. With practice comes mastery – so don’t give up! Start following these steps today and watch as your ability to hear what someone is saying increases drastically over time.
For more tools on developing your listening skills check out You’re Not Listening: What You’re Missing and Why It Matters: Murphy, Kate: 9781250297198: Amazon.com: Books