Eric Jacobson

Tips For Being A Better Listener

In Effective Communications, General Leadership Skills, Leadership, Leadership Books, Leadership Education, Leadership Skills, Leadership Training, Listening Skills, Management on June 30, 2011 at 7:59 pm

Here are some ways to sharpen your listening skills to help you derive the fullest meaning from what is being communicated:

  • Listen for potential
  • Listen for what’s not said
  • Listen for inconsistency
  • Identify nonverbal signals
  • Listen for perspective
  • Listen for energy
  • Listen for themes and threads
  • Listen for what’s behind the words
  • Listen through the silence
  • Listen for positive change
  • Acknowledge you’re listening
  • Know when to interrupt

The last tip, about interrupting, kind of surprised me when I read this list in the book, What Could Happen If You Do Nothing.  But, there are times when interrupting makes sense.  Strategic interrupting can be both clarifying and productive for both parties.  For example, it makes sense to interrupt when:

  • You feel that you or the other person has lost the thread
  • You need clarification to fully get what’s going on
  • There’s an opportunity to offer a suggestion
  • It might be helpful to reframe or offer another way to look at a situation

And, if you are having a conversation with someone who is expressing their feelings or attitudes, keep in mind that according to professor Albert Mehrabian of UCLA that within that communication to you:

  • 7 percent is in the words that are spoken
  • 38 percent is in the way the words are said
  • 55 percent is in facial expression

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