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Mastering the Power of Listening Skills

2 min
communication  ✺  listening  ✺  communicationskills  ✺  listeningskills  ✺  leadership

“The simple act of listening to someone and making them feel as if they have truly been heard is a most treasured gift.” — L. A. Villafane

4 power skills of listening - courtesy of communication expert Meredith Bell:

1. The Ultimate Nonverbal - Your Undivided Attention:  Give your undivided attention and maintain that focus throughout your entire time together.

How:

↳Avoid multitasking, particularly when the other person can’t see you
↳Eliminate external distractions (device, surrounding noise etc.)
↳Eliminate internal distractions (thoughts, feelings, opinions)
↳If you find yourself drifting away, gently remind yourself to get back on track

2. Sense The Feeling and Express Empathy: Actively sense what it is they're feeling, so you can express empathy.

How:

↳Approach them with a fresh awareness of who they are and make an internal commitment to connect with them.
↳Observe their facial expressions, their gestures, and their tone of voice, not just their words. 
↳Put yourself in their situation, not so you can agree or disagree, and not to judge or even offer advice, but so you can appreciate what it's like to experience what they're going through right now.
↳Reflect back what you are hearing, for example you could ask, “Are you disappointed that we have to start over on this project after the work we've already done?”

3. Check the Message: Listen for the meaning, and pause to check that you understood what it is that they're saying. 

How:

↳You can start with any one of these phrases, “If I'm hearing you correctly, you're saying…” or “It sounds like you…”

4. Don’t Interrupt: Make sure that you give the opportunity for the person to share their entire message. People rarely convey the entire message in one go.

How:

↳Even if the other person pauses, don’t jump in. Give them time to collect their thoughts
↳Encourage them to continue with your physical cue (e.g., simple nod) or through a statement like, “Please continue”.

Looking for more communication insights? Follow my friend Meredith here on LinkedIn. She posts regularly on Communication Skills, Leadership, Culture and Coaching.

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