Do you like music? What do you do when you listen to your favourite music?
When I was a teenager, I used to learn by heart the lyrics of my favourite songs. Still today I try to do it. I can easily learn the lyrics if I listen carefully to the song and if I listen to the same song several times.
The same thing happens with people. Nowadays most of us are more interested in speaking than listening. Though, to be able to understand properly, you should be able to listen correctly to the other. Not only listening shows respect to the person who does the talking but it shows also empathy, that is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.
There is one powerful technique, used in coaching and counselling, Active listening. It is a communication technique where the listener focus for about 70% on listening, and the remaining 30% splits into 20% of questions, and 10% your opinion.
You would need to be sure of what the person is saying, therefore you will rephrase her sentence. You can also ask confirmation of what has been said. Questions to assure the other that you are listening are also useful. Body language helps a lot. Don’t sit with legs or arms crossed, it would give the impressione that you are a closed person, or impatient, or even challenging. Consider also the distance between the other and yourself. Don’t stay too close, usually one meter is okay, it leaves enough space for communicating well in a close but safe way. It also depends on the nationality of your interlocutor.
When you put a question, it has to be an open question, meaning that you don’t ask questions that have a yes or no answer.
Example of questions may be:
- Who/what precisely…?
- When did it happen?
- Why do you believe that…?
- How did it happen? Describe it more precisely.
If you would like to develop your listening skills, drop me an email.