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June 14, 2013

Three Key Listening Skills

Notice Nonverbal Cues
As you listen to speakers, their nonverbal behavior provides valuable insight into their message. These nonverbal cues can help you to determine the credibility of speakers as well as their state of mind. Do they act and speak with confidence, or do you detect uncertainty in their body language? Are they sitting or standing tall and looking directly at you, or are they fidgeting and avoiding eye contact? Using the information from observing their nonverbal cues will help you establish the significance and credibility of their statements.

Be Actively Involved
When a person is speaking, he or she will also be watching your body language to assess your credibility. Therefore, it is important to make good eye contact and lean slightly toward the person to show interest. Always avoid interrupting the person; just nod as a way to provide feedback without being disruptive.

Reflect and Respond
Once a person has finished speaking, it is important to clarify your understanding. Responding with a recap of the person’s main points is one way to make sure that you have understood the information provided. Then, be sure to follow up with the speaker later by mentioning something that was said in the conversation. This way, you will be able to continue to build upon the connection you have made through active listening.

Listen more than you speak to improve business relationships and demonstrate leadership. Diane Sawyer, an award-winning television news anchor who built her career by listening to others once said, “I think the one lesson I have learned is that there is no substitute for paying attention.”

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