'Active listening' means fully concentrating on what is being said in order to comprehend the message that is being portrayed by the speaker.
When you are actively listening your entire focus is on the speaker and you need to demonstrate this by showing both verbal and non-verbal signs of listening.
Take a look at these 9 qualities of a great listener.
- 1. Linked questions
- One of the best ways to show a speaker you have been listening is to use linking questions. Asking questions or making observations based on what the speaker is saying, shows the speaker you have been paying attention and are engaged in the conversation.
- 2. Mirror Matching
- Mirror matching is aligning your body language, facial expressions and words to match the speaker. This not only shows you have been listening but can be imperative when trying to build rapport with the speaker.
- 3. Retaining information
- Simply remembering information such as the speaker’s name or key points that were mentioned will highlight the fact that you have been listening.
- 4. Body Language
- You can use your body language to show you are listening to the speaker by leaning slightly inwards towards the speaker and avoiding crossing your arms.
- 5. Smiling
- ‘Smile when you dial’, you can often tell if a person is engaged in a conversation by their facial expressions. Use your smile to show you are listening as well as agreeing / understanding what the speaker is saying.
- 6. Distraction
- Your surrounding can be very distracting. Try to not look around or constantly fidget when listening to the speaker.
- 7. Reflecting
- Show that you have listened to the speaker by reflecting on what has been said. Repeating statements that have been communicated is a great way to show you have understood what was being said.
- 8. Clarification
- Ask the speaker to clarify points or ask questions if you do not understand what the speaker has said. This highlights to the speaker you are trying to understand what they are saying.
- 9. Summary
- Summarising is simply repeating the key messages the speaker has mentioned using their language or paraphrasing the speaker. Not only does this highlight you have listened and understood the speaker but will also allow the speaker to correct you if necessary.
These tips have been put together by SThree’s Learning & Development Team based in London.
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