8 ACTIVE LISTENING SKILLS & BEING A GREAT LISTENER – If there is one thing common for all the truly successful people in the world, it’s because they are a great listener. Do you find it funny when someone says “I hear you”? Hearing is completely different to listening to them. When you listen, you are taking information in, processing it, learning it and then applying it to your decision making.
What is essential to building great wealth is being a good listener because there are consequences of not listening. It can be a disaster for your finances like losing a client or misunderstanding a customer’s concerns and so on.
People can fool themselves into thinking that they’re great listeners. But based on a global study, people are also distracted and are multitasking at the same time. Usually, when an average person is done talking to someone, he remembers only about half of what he has actually heard, even if he thinks he was listening.
Being a great listener is difficult because your mind is always in a rush, your focus is always moving between the past and the future like everybody else unconsciously, while being held up with anxieties, overthinking and worries. But fear not, there is a skill that is easy to learn and perfect. What is it?
It’s called ACTIVE LISTENING. This is how it works.
Listening well is a reward you give to whoever you are talking to. It makes them feel they are respected, valued, put at a high regard and it makes you better informed. Here are the 8 keys to ACTIVE LISTENING so you can be a great listener.
- Show that you are listening by nodding, showing agreement, saying words like “I follow” or “I understand”. Do not be like Gary Vaynerchuk where he loves to interrupt whoever he is talking to. For whatever reason he explains why he does it is just plain inexcusable. I love Gary for all that he stand for but interrupting people when they talk, especially if they have a great point, is unacceptable.
- When someone is speaking, stop planning in your head what you want to say in response and just hear the other person. When you think what you will say while they are still talking, you are missing out half of their point.
- Be in the moment. Be present in the conversation by sitting or standing still when listening to others. Put your phone away (it’s a no-no to put your phone on the table when in a meeting, unless it’s used to take down notes or record it) and look at the other person’s face when they speak. Close your eyes as you listen to them while on the phone. Look at the computer screen as you listen to them on a video conference. When it’s your time to talk, look at the camera lens, not on the screen.
- When they’re done speaking, pause and take all in what they’ve said.
- Before you give your justifications or answers, discuss and agree that you’re both on the same page.
- Show yourself and them that you clearly understood what they said. Summarize back to them what you heard them say in a nutshell.
- You can ask clarifying questions to make sure what you think you heard is actually what the other person was talking about. This is key when there are emotions involved and someone’s words may not be accurate, objective or clear to you.
- You may write down notes of what was discussed, but not word for word. You can email the other person you are talking to a summary to ensure that you are practicing active listening.
I’ve been in to many conversations with people who look at me and seem to understand what I was saying, but in reality, they are just staring into blank space. Get them to acknowledge what you’re message was. I have a habit of saying this phrase when I make a long point “Does that make sense to you?” and when they agree, that’s when I try to continue. Otherwise, I would have to slow down a bit to the person’s level of active listening skills. Be aware that not everyone is a great listener, and what would be worse if you both are not great at listening. It would be a complete waste of time and effort to do so. And that is how it is with being a great listener.