8 Tips to Become a Better Listener

by Cheryl Vallejos, CPBA, CPVA

How are you at your listening skills? How would others say you are at listening? Sometimes there's a big discrepancy in the two.

Everyone knows by now that better listening skills can build stronger relationships and get more accomplished in an organization. Listening is an important part of conversations and, unfortunately, not many people do it well. There isn't anyone out there who doesn't appreciate being listened to with attention. If you had this skill of attentive listening, you'd have better relationships in your personal and business life, and we all know what an impact this can have!

Listening is worth the effort

Not listening attentively bears a huge burden: mistakes at work, stress at being seen as out of touch, missed communication with associates or loved ones, self-blame, misunderstanding. Not being listened to will cut off the flow of communication, will create the label of poor customer service, might even result in a lawsuit!

The 8 tips to become a better listener are:

1. Be present.
2. Resist distractions.
3. Keep an open mind to other's ideas.
4. Don't tune out the other person if you disagree.
5. Listen completely instead of thinking about what you are going to say in return
6. Ensure you understand the other person by saying something like, "I want to make sure I understand what you are saying... Is this correct".
7. Encourage the other person to 'tell you more'.
8. Release your need to be right.

How to I sharpen my Listening Skills?

Be a grandparent! Yes, the secret behind great communication between grandparents and their grandkids is 100% focused attention. There aren't any distractions because the grandchild is the ONLY thing in the grandparents' life at that time. Picture these behaviors:

  • Nothing distracts your attention
  • You are only doing one thing: listening
  • You lean forward and look at the speaker's face intently
  • You never glance away because they have your complete attention
  • You love them while they are talking. You think about how good they are
  • You give them attentive respect
  • You're open to whatever they say without judgment
  • If you happen to disagree, you find a way to voice your different opinion gently and kindly
  • You listen to their whole story without interrupting with your opinion because you might not have gotten the full gist of what they want to communicate
  • If what they say makes you a little uncomfortable, ask for clarification - more explanation; don't just sit there and fidget!
  • You give them feedback with what you think you heard to be sure you got it right

Better Listening Skills can:

  • Prevents misunderstandings which turn a discussion into conflict which could end up in undesirable results and lost production.
  • Encourage others to offer suggestions. If people don't think you are listening to them, they will stop presenting you with their ideas and suggestions. This could hurt the overall performance and limit the shared knowledge.
  • Retain good, qualified employees. When surveyed, many employees have left employment due to poor interpersonal skills of supervisor and/or coworkers.
  • Increase respect with the others around you by showing the mutual respect of 'listening'.
  • Lead to good customer service which is based on a person having good listening skills. Understanding the customer's needs is important to getting results they are after.

Want to know how a good manager listens?

There are many things a person can do to become a better listener and make others feel appreciated as the talk. Read on to find some examples on ways to become a good listener and discover how this can change your life. You will see exciting things happening in the organization as well as in your personal life.

Ways a Good Manger Listens

Let the client come forth in the silence. It's often here that the truth really comes out Say nothing while the client is wrestling: don't interrupt, don't intrude in the space, and don't squash Take a moment of silence before responding so the client knows they've been heard

Hear the exact words used and hear what the client is trying to say, even if vocabulary is limited Hear the spirit and tone used and "get" the communication versus hanging on every word for information Hear what the most important part of the communication is versus what the client spends the most time talking about

Reflects Back
Use active or reflecting listening skills with segues like: "It sounds like" or "So what I hear you saying is..." Either give it back 100% the way it was received or "gap" it in an attempt to speed up awareness Use common language; don't add in coaching jargon or vocabulary from other disciplines

Honors Inklings
Listen from the heart and use all your senses, not just your intellect; pick up on all of the communication Grant credence to even your smallest inner sense (inkling) and assume it's worth bringing to the client's attention Strengthen this skill to recognize subtle, heretofore ignored, reactions and senses for the growth of your client

Discerns and Identifies
Identify what type of client you are coaching Assess the situation fully and recognize all of the symptoms, situations, sources, solutions and potential shifts involved

Get more information in three areas: what happened, how they are feeling, what they want Dance back and forth until the client speaks the truth Don't move on until you are satisfied that the client is ready. Acknowledge everything that seems relevant

Use prompts to invite your client to say more: Really? Are you sure? Tell me more. That's very interesting. Keep going Get the client to say less: "I have enough information now", "I think I understand" Give the client direction to their conversation: "I want to hear more about X", or "Let's go back to what you were saying before"

When you are silent is often when a person's truth really comes out.

Cheryl Vallejos is a certified in Law of Attraction practitioner who imparts her wisdom on attracting happiness, success and prosperity - mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Cheryl is author of "Injecting the Juice into Leadership" and "Time on Your Side" is a professional business coach and consultant with over 22 years experience in business leadership. She works with professionals who are ready to attract more success, happiness and abundance in their life as they combine The Law of Attraction with business building techniques. Click here to sign up for the FREE electronic book,"Using the Law of Attraction for Personal and Professional Success" or contact her for more information:

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