Hear What People Are Saying

Listening to others is important, but according to Mind Tools, a website that provides tools and resources to help individual become better leaders, reports that, “we remember between 25 percent and 50 percent of what we hear.” Given that we communicate with people every day, we’re missing a lot of important information. Becoming an active listener helps to improve productivity and our ability to lead and influence others. Research suggests that individuals that are active listeners are more effective at communicating and managing conflict.

Becoming an Active Listener

If you want to be a better basketball player you practice. If you want to give your best speech, you practice. If you want to be a better listener, you practice. Mind Tools recommends these five active listening techniques to help you become a better listener:

Pay attention – Give the speaker your undivided attention and acknowledge the message. Recognizing non-verbal communication also speaks “loudly.”
Show that you’re listening – Use your own body language and gestures to convey your attention.
  • Nod occasionally
  • Note your posture and make sure it’s open and inviting
  • Encourage the speaker to continue with small verbal comments like “yes” and “uh huh
Be curious – Our personal filters, assumptions, judgments, and beliefs can distort what we hear. As you listen, remember your role is to understand what is being said.

Don’t interrupt – Interrupting is a waste of time. It frustrates the speaker and limit full understanding of the message.
  • Allow the speaker to finish each point before asking questions
  • Don’t interrupt with counter arguments
Respond appropriately – Active listening is a model for respect and understanding.You are gaining information and perspective. You add nothing by attacking the speaker or otherwise putting him or down.
  • Be candid, open and honest in your response
  • Assert your opinions respectfully
  • Treat the person in a way that you think he she would want to be treated
Of the five tips, can you share which one you will work on to be a more active listener?