This is a very important skill that allow us to learn, to show respect and share. Listen first, talk later but … when? and how? Many successful leaders and entrepreneurs credit their success to effective listening skills. Richard Branson frequently quotes listening as one of the main factors behind the success of Virgin.
Listening is so important that many top employers provide listening skills training for their employees because listening skills can lead to better customer satisfaction, greater productivity with collaborative teamwork and increased sharing of information could in turn into more creative and innovative work.
Listening is not the same as hearing, we need to become active listeners, paying attention not only to the story, but also about how it’s told, the language and tone of the voice, the body language. In other words, it means being aware of both verbal and non-verbal messages.
We communicate 70% of our time and listening represents around 50% of it.
But, if you’re the type of person who finds themselves anxiously planning what you’ll say while others speak, you can find some tips hereafter to follow:
- Stop talking and prepare yourself to listen and remove distractions.
- Face the speaker and make eye contact but stare fixedly at the other person..
- Put the speaker at ease. Relax the atmosphere to have a good discussion.
- Be attentive and empathise. Try to understand the other person’s point of view.
- Be patient. A long pause it doesn’t means speaker has finished to talk.
- Be open and avoid personal prejudice. Don’t become irritated about speech mannerisms.
- Take notes and try to feel what the speaker is feeling.
- Pay attention to body language. Your speaker body language and yours.
- Give feedback regularly,(mmm, uh uh, OK…) and ask questions to ensure that you have understood after speaker stop talking.
- Listen the message and summarize the ideas.
When you start making listening a priority, you develop your empathy and understanding in any situation.
As a leader it’s important to be clear, concise and respectful when you speak or write emails, but your nonverbal cues are another crucial part of good communication. Facial expressions, posture, gestures, and eye contact all count. It turns out only 7% of our communication happens with our verbal communication. Make sure to be positive, polite, and respectful in your face-to-face interactions at work because when your body language conflicts with your words, people will believe your nonverbal cues.
Some tips to improve nonverbal body language and improve your communication:
- Don’t sit directly across from someone. It could be understood as confrontation, round table our 90 degrees seating is better to create an atmosphere to communicate.
- Check your feet position. Make sure that your feet are pointed toward someone if you want to establish rapport and trust. If they’re pointed in any other direction, it’s a slight hint that you’re disinterested, wary, or uncomfortable. Turn to V-shape hte position for your feets to made them more welcome.
- Cross your legs. A legs crossing means that somebody is confortable.
- Rubbing forehead, touching necks, ventilating neck area could show discomfort.
- Arms spread out over chais tell your feel confident or confortable.
- Fingertips planted spread apart on a surface are interpreted as authority, terrritorial display and confidence.
- Cross-arms with hands tightly gripping the arms is sign of discomfort
- Thumbs-up in a cross hand is sign of positive thoughts.
- Thumb in the pocket and let fingers our is sign of “unsure of myself “. Leaders should avoid this position.
- Squinting may reflect a negative thought and emotion.
- Eye blocking with hands means I don’t like what I’m hearing
- A brief touch of eyes during conversation could indicate negative perception of what’s being discussed.
- When lips disappear is usually stress and anxiety.
- Steepling fingers is a sign of confidence
If you want to read more about this topic
You can find a good page here bodylanguageproject.com/nonverbal-dictionary
Or read Joe Navarro’s book What every BODY is saying.
Saying Thank You
Saying thank you really matters. When you reach out to a team member you’re communicating professionalism, kindness and team spirit. The team grows stronger, people are happier and more satisfied with their jobs, and the whole company benefits. It’s a win-win-win. So if you don’t say thank you nearly enough use these best practices to work more appreciation into your work life. Look every day for action to say thank you, for example:
- Say “Thank You” when we receive a compliment.
- Say “Thank You” when we’re late. Thank you for waiting, Thank you for patience
- Say “Thank You” when comforting someone. Thank you for sharing this with me.
- Say “Thank You” when receiving a helpful feedback even when it’s negative. Thank you for your feedback.
- Say “Thank You” when a colleague helps you with a task.
- Say ” Thank You” when receiving a favour.
- Say ” Thank You” when receiving a call or somebody takes time for you.
Do we say thank you enough? Be grateful to others is one of the most important key in communication and team motivation.
Inigo Mayoral, founder of www.insbuildrive.com