One of the strongest components of effective communication is simply developing one’s listening skills. By truly listening to what the other party is saying, respect, credibility, and trust are gained. Listening thoroughly will also serve to allow one to sincerely respond to what the other person is saying. One’s response will be on target and relevant, and will prove that you have truly been listening.
There are many types of listeners, who may or may not be aware of their own communication styles, and this can be detrimental not only in the business world, but in the rest of one’s interactions throughout their daily routines. The key is to objectively and honestly pay attention to yourself, and discern whether or not you may be one of these kinds of listeners.
If you are preoccupied, you may project visual indications of that, such as indirect eye contact. When you’re constantly looking around, you give the impression that you are not paying attention. If you notice this about yourself, you will need to focus on putting other tasks or thoughts aside, making certain that you are maintaining direct eye contact with the other party at all times.
If you are a daydreamer when you speak to others, again, focus is not being maintained. Daydreaming will be read on your face and you will portray yourself as lacking interest. As with the pre-occupied person, the daydreamer must bring the focus back to the person and to the topic at hand. Again, eye contact is extremely important, as well as the conscious effort to ask questions and bring yourself into the conversation.
Some people may find themselves interrupting from time to time, or a lot of the time. While this just may be a symptom of perhaps being very excited about the topic at hand, it gives the impression that what the other person is saying is not that important. If you notice this about yourself, it is very easy to change. Simply apologize when you find yourself interrupting, and let the other person continue with what they are saying.
To be an engaging listener, one that is truly communicating and not distracted, you need to be fully engaged with your body, mind, and heart. In the business world today, this is a must. The public is very discerning when it comes to where they will take their business. And effective listening skills—or lack of them—will be immediately perceived and consequently help, or hinder, a company’s survival.
Here’s an example of this important principle from your friends at Dale Carnegie Training of Michigan:
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