5 ways to practice active listening techniques
Listening is a fundamental skill for leadership. When you can listen actively, you can identify the requirements of your coworkers and clients, allowing you to implement strategies specifically tailored to their needs. So, what are some techniques that you can adopt to improve your listening skills?
Let's take a look at five ways to improve your active listening, allowing you to boost your success in interviews and your career.
1. Be open-minded
When someone else is talking, open your mind to what they are saying. Start as a blank slate, with the assumption that they have knowledge that you do not yet possess. This will make you more receptive to their words.
2. Engage with the person you are talking to
It is advantageous to employ techniques such as asking open questions to ensure that you are fully practising active listening. You can also try reflecting statements back to the person who said them and clarifying what they have said if necessary. When they say something noteworthy, try using affirmations to boost their confidence and react positively to their words. When they finish talking, summarise what they have said to ensure that you fully understand.
3. Don't be too quick to respond
It might sound counterproductive, but one of the best ways to practice active listening is to leave a short silence for a few moments when they have finished talking. This allows you to fully digest what they have said and reflect on exactly what they tell you. Ultimately, you will not just be hearing what they have said; you will be comprehending the meaning behind their words.
4. Use your breath to stay focused
In a fast-paced world fraught with distractions, it can be all too easy to get distracted when someone is trying to tell you something. By regulating your breathing, you can remain mindful and stay focused on the present moment. This will ensure that your active listening skills improve because you will be less likely to get distracted by outside influences.
5. Ask questions
Rather than stating your views, ask the other person's opinion. This coaxes them to provide extra information they might not otherwise have ventured. Furthermore, this will instil confidence in the person you are talking to, allowing them to feel interested in listening to their views and opinions.
In a situation such as a job interview, it can increase your chances of success because the interviewer will view you as flexible and wanting to seek knowledge.