Listening is much more than making sure you have clean ears. Being a good listener is also an important part of your personal brand and with that, there is a lot to take into consideration. Although there is a lot to do to prove you’re a good listener, it is not as hard as you think.
1. Have Level and Genuine Eye Contact
If the situation allows, have a seat. This is the easiest way to be at more of a level playing field. Maintain eye contact whenever the other party is speaking.
2. Position Yourself With an Open Body
Have attentive, respectful posture. Sit or stand with an open body that allows for their voice to be projected directly toward you. For example, if you’re sitting across from someone at a desk, position yourself directly in front of the speaker so that your bodies are parallel and your shoulders are squared off.
3. Actively Listen
Do not tune out -- stay engaged and alert. Perform vocal and physical “check-ins” to communicate with the speaker.
As you listen, nod your “yes” to communicate to the speaker that you are comprehending. Vocally agree without interrupting with sounds such as “mmm-hmm.”
4. Ask Questions About What You Heard
If appropriate, pause the speaker and ask questions about what you heard. For example, rather than allowing the speaker to continue, question anything that you may not understand or would like more information about.
5. Make a Physical Connection
Show the speaker that you respect them and your conversation with a handshake or hug hello/goodbye. This shows the other party common courtesy as well a level of respect. Skipping this step can definitely make you seem rude or unprofessional.
6. Be Aware of What Your Face is Saying
Although there may not be anything coming out your mouth, make sure that your face is not always saying what it is thinking. Our expressions are displayed through our eyes and through our mouths. Become self aware of both your eyebrow and lip movement to help control what your face is saying.
7. Suggest a Setting
If you are in a setting that is not conducive to clear hearing, suggest that the conversation be moved to a quieter location.
8. Make Sure the Time is Right
Sometimes, as the listener it is okay to tell the speaker that now is not the right time for the conversation to be had. If shutting down chat time, suggest when or where it would be better to continue the conversation.