In order to be great leaders, we have to be able to be active listeners. Here are 5 tips for becoming an active listener:
1. Sustain your attention- provide verbal and non-verbal cues that you are actively listening (i.e. nodding, eye contact, minimizing distractions).
2. Don’t over-interpret- avoid jumping to conclusions early in the conversation. Usually the beginning of a conversation is not focused enough to interpret meaning.
3. Avoid being judgmental- this stunts the ability to communicate and provokes defensiveness. Suspend preconception and biases; we can’t have empathy when listening through a narrow-minded filter.
4. Make an active effort to learn what speaker is communicating- paraphrase what the speaker has said to verbally confirm your understanding. This allows the speaker to correct any wrong assumptions that you might have.
5. Show empathy-show that you care about what the speaker is saying. This is especially difficult, but critically important, when you disagree with the speaker. It is possible to disagree and be respectful at the same time.
For more tips on being a good listener, check out more Common Sense Communication Tips… from Greg L. Thomas, our leadership and business coach.
“Many attempts to communicate are nullified by saying too much.” -Robert Greenleaf
*image courtesy of imagerymajestic/freedigitalphotos.net