Listening is a key part of any relationship. It aids understanding, and makes others feel heard. But distractions of any kind can pull our attention away. Distractions can be external, like noise in the surrounding environment, or internal, like being preoccupied with a problem. When distractions pull our attention away from the conversation, we stop listening and miss important information. So how can you listen effectively?
Like anything else, listening is a skill and can be honed. Here are a few tips and benefits of effective listening.
Tips for Effective Listening
Use your body language to convey that you are listening and paying attention. Making eye contact, nodding your head, and making appropriate facial expressions are great ways to show that you’re paying attention.
Don’t interrupt the other person. Interrupting is disrespectful and insincere. It also shows that you weren’t really paying attention. Instead, listen to everything the other person says and respond appropriately. Asking questions also shows you are listening and will ensure you understand what is being said. However, wait for a pause and keep it on topic.
Benefits of Effective Listening
Effective listening improves your productivity. You’ll have a better understanding of the conversation and task at hand. You’ll be able to complete the task correctly the first time and won’t have to re-do your work.
Listening also helps build your relationships. People have more positive feelings towards others when they feel heard. This leads to higher levels of trust and a better relationship.
Learning to listen effectively is a worthwhile skill to develop. Show that you’re paying attention to the other person by using your body language and not interrupting. Productivity and focus will improve, and your relationships will be stronger. There are no downsides.
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Written by: Abigail Tomalewski, Marketing Assistant