Business information written specifically for newspaper advertising departments

Listen Up

Tips to improve your listening skills
Listening helps people learn more, care more and ultimately become more social, as people want to be around them more, personally and professionally.

People who know how to listen are able to communicate more efficiently. Most people think communication is simply about speaking and devalue the significance of listening. Listening helps people learn more, care more and ultimately become more social, as people want to be around them more, personally and professionally.

Listen with your eyes: Your eyes are a dead give-a-way to disinterest. Look at the person speaking and avoid letting your mind wander.

Stay focused: Don’t be distracted by colleagues, noises, activity or your surroundings, concentrate on the conversation.

Watch for the Nonverbals: Listen to the emotions and tonations, watch for body gestures be aware you must listen with more than your ears to truly hear.

Ask questions: Be engaged in the conversation, don’t tune it out.

Don’t guess: Don’t presume what they’re going to say, you’re probably wrong or missing information, meaning you’re not in-taking that information.

Write it down: Keep a pen and paper handy, make short references to questions or comments you have, also note important points in the conversation, just don’t let it distract you from listening.

Repeat what you hear: Don’t just hear what they’re saying, but listen. To ensure that you’re registering the information, repeat it back.

Summarize: At the end of a call, reflect back on the key points in the conversation.

When someone comes to you and shares their thoughts or feelings, restrain the urge to relate what you hear to your own experiences; let them have the moment.

Unbias your listening: Avoid generalizing or stereotyping the person you’re talking to, it may prevent you from hearing what they’re really saying.

Keep it interesting: You don’t need to know a lot about a subject to have a conversation, you just have to have a desire to learn and to make it interesting.

Do you make these mistakes?

You give advice or critique when a friend comes to you with a problem You share your stories when someone mentions something that has happened in their life.

Speak over people while they’re trying to say something.

Just let them speak.

When someone comes to you and shares their thoughts or feelings, restrain the urge to relate what you hear to your own experiences; let them have the moment.