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January 8, 2021

Shhhh! Listen!

How often have you thought you were listening to someone only to find yourself asking them to repeat what they said? It’s not uncommon! According to William James, American philosopher and psychologist, the mind can hold a single thought for about four seconds. Even if you think you’re listening, your mind has probably wandered. So how do you truly listen? Here are some tips.

  • Focus on the other person. Stop what you’re working on and pay attention to what they are saying.
  • Be aware of the other person’s body language. Most of a communication is non-verbal. Watch the person’s gestures and facial expressions to help you understand the entire communication and what’s not being said.
  • Communicate listening. You can show you are listening by leaning toward the person and cocking your head slightly. Repeat key words they have used and ask questions for clarification.
  • Summarize what you heard before responding. Before jumping in with a response, make sure you have correctly heard and interpreted what the person said. 

Listening to someone with full attention is one of the highest compliments you can pay someone, especially in our frantic, hurry-up business day. It’s also positively productive since you don’t need people to repeat what they have said.

For more information, check out my blog post Three Key Listening Skills.

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