Active listening is one of the most effective ways to build rapport with your peers and build relationships with new people. But, listening can be challenging right now, especially when a lot of us are still working remotely with distractions.
Whether you’re working on a project with a new colleague or trying out a new campaign strategy for an established client, sharpening your active listening skills can lead you to success by understanding your colleagues or clients needs more clearly and strengthening those relationships in the long run.
6 tips on how to be an active listener:
This one seems pretty obvious, right? But with so many distractions at our fingertips, especially when we aren’t directly in front of someone, it can be easy to glance at our phones or quickly check an email without realizing it. When listening to someone, make sure your phone is out of sight, and you’re giving them your full attention. If you’re on a video chat, especially, here are some tips to help you look even more engaged.
It can be really easy to jump to conclusions when listening to someone’s “bright idea” when you know that you’ve done it before and it failed. Judging someone while listening to them can be a real shutdown and may discourage them from sharing ideas with you in the future. They might also have an approach you haven’t thought of, so don’t jump to conclusions!
Take a moment to reflect on what the speaker is saying before you respond. Responding too quickly may show that you had a predetermined response rather than responding to what they had to say at that moment.
Did your client say something that didn’t make sense to you or use a new term you haven’t hear of? Ask clarifying questions – this not only shows that you were listening, but it also helps you avoid following up with questions you probably should have asked during the conversation. It will save everyone time.
Remember key points from the conversation and summarize what was said back to the speaker, whether that’s an action or follow-up items or just a general summary of what you learned from the conversation with them.
While you won’t want to overshare during the conversation, sharing similar experiences or ideas allows you to build rapport. It shows that you are human and having similar experiences to them can build even more trust.
Active listening enables you to gain information, engage with others and build up relationships. Utilize this skill as more of a thinking process rather than just hearing — people love being heard, but they love being understood even more.
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