Active listening can be a great tool to improve your communication skills. The person you are communicating with will feel heard, valued, and will begin to trust you if you are present in the conversation — physically, mentally, and verbally. This makes for a conversation that is free of misunderstandings and keeps open a clear path of communication.
To improve your active listening skills, follow these best practices:
Give your undivided attention to the person. Block out all distractions, make eye contact, and be genuine with your interest in the conversation.
- Verbally Encourage
When speaking, repeat the message if you want to let the person know that you really have a good understanding of what they are conveying to you.
To repeat the message, paraphrase it back to the other person to make sure you understand their thoughts. If you do not understand fully, request more information to clarify your interpretation of the message you are hearing.
- Non-Verbally Acknowledge
Use body language such as nodding or smiling to let the other person know you are interested in what they are saying. These actions are ques that let the person know that you comprehend where they are coming from, appreciate what they are saying, and without the use of words, telling them to continue their part of the dialogue.
Active listening is a minor action that has major effects. Active listening is an integral part of HR, and all of business, because it makes who you are talking to feel heard. You will get more out of a conversation and build better relationships; so, put that phone, or any other distractions away, and actively listen to who you are speaking to.