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Active Listening Tips: 4 Steps to Active Listening


As a provider of Social Media training, we blog a lot about the power of online communications and their ability to spread your messages fast, and to a wide audience (if done effectively). However it's easy to get caught up in all the hutzpah surrounding Social Media and online marketing, and forget that we're all still people, doing business with other people - until they teach machines to think like people, that's always going to be the case!

A huge amount of business interactions are still done face to face (or over the phone), and in the increasingly fast-paced modern business world, we all need to remember how to listen to each other from time to time. How many times have you been in a meeting, or been speaking to a client, when you've realised that you're thinking about all of the other things you need yo be getting on with that day, and not actually listening to what's being said.

A good listener tries to understand thoroughly what the other person is saying. In the end he may disagree sharply, but before he disagrees, he wants to know exactly what it is…” (Kenneth A. Wells)

Time spent speaking to someone and not actively listening to what is being said is time wasted (as is time spent speaking to someone who isn't listening to you).

So - lets all take a deep breath - step back from our busy lives for a moment, and focus on some ways that we can make sure that we're receiving each other's messages effectively.

As part of many of our Management Training programmes, we cover Active Listening skills. It's not new, like Social Media - but these Active Listening Tips can go a long way to helping you do business more efficientlly, and make sure your messages are received (and understood).

Active listening improves mutual understanding. All to often we don’t listen attentively. We're distracted, half thinking about something else, and this way the intended message in the communication gets lost.

How well do you listen? Who speaks to you on a daily basis – your employer, workmates, team members, your husband, wife, boyfriend of girlfriend? If we asked them would they sayyou were a good listener (especially those people you speak to most often!) How often do you make a mistake because you thought someone had asked you to do something else? If this sounds familiar, take 5 minutes to take these tips on board - it could save you much more time in the long run! To really be actively listening you need to be at stage four...

Four Steps To Active Listening

Hearing. At this stage, you are just paying attention to make sure you hear the words being said.

Interpretation. At this stage you are making sure you are interpreting the words you hear to ensure there is no misunderstanding of basic meanings.

Evaluation. At the evaluation stage you are actively deciding what you are going to do with the information you are receiving.

Respond. The final stage is to give a verbal or visual response to the speaker to confirm that you have understood what they have been saying.

More Active Listening Tips

Don’t talk-listen - We all like a chance to get our own ideas over without being constantly interrupted. Good listeners provide others with an opportunity to do this.

Don’t jump to your own conclusions - Many people are always thinking a step ahead and forming their own conclusions based on their own understanding & beleifs, or what they THINK the person is going to say. This is a major cause of misunderstandings occuring.

Ask questions - If you're not 100% sure what the person means, ask them "do you mean this" to clarify - don't guess and hope that you've got their meaning right.

Overlook speech problems - twitches, or an unusual voice / heavy accent. Whan you notice something different its easy to pay attention to this and not concentrate on what is actually being said.

Be open minded - if we don't listen we never learn anything new - don't assume you know it all already.

Give feedback - Make eye contact, nod if you agreee, and if it doesn't interrupt, confirm verbally by saying "I see", or "I understand what you mean".

For more information about Silicon Beach Training's Social Media Training and Management Training courses, contact Colin Welch on:
[email protected]
+44 (0)1273 622272

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