One of the largest components of effective communication is a simple one. Just listen. Truly listen to what the other party is saying. Respect, credibility, and trust are gained when one is an effective and an honest listener. 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 oneself, and discern whether or not one may be one of these kinds of listeners.
If one is preoccupied, they may project visual indications of that, such as indirect eye contact. When one is constantly looking around, one gives the impression that they are not paying attention. If one notices this about themselves, they will need to focus on putting other tasks or thoughts aside, making certain that they are maintaining direct eye contact at all times.
If one should find that they are what is know as an ‘out to lunch’ type of listener, this simply means that focus again is not being maintained. Daydreaming will be read on one’s face, again, as lack of 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. Once one notices this about themselves, it is very easy to change. Should one find themselves interrupting, one must catch themselves, apologize and let the other person continue with what they are saying.
The ‘engager’, this is one type of listener, that is truly communicating. They are not distracted, they are fully engaged with their bodies, their minds and their hearts. 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 with ensure a company’s survival, even in the difficult economic times of today.
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