Wednesday, May 19, 2010

4 Steps To Listen Effectively & Build Rapport

I think that 'listening' is one of the most powerful of all communication skills and yet we are never really taught, at school or otherwise, how to do it properly.

Effective listening requires a great deal more than merely 'hearing' what your counterpart has to say. Effective listening requires a conscious commitment to be wholly present and to digest every word that is spoken.

Here are some ideas to help boost your listening skills:

1. Before entering your meeting, leave your own 'stuff' outside of the room! Our minds easily wander and a great tip is to literally 'park' your own distractions at outside of the door before you come in; you can always pick them up later when you leave!

2. When engaging your counterpart, consciously turn off your own inner voice, or mental chatter. This voice constantly lists all the things you have to get done today: 'planning tonight's dinner... organising a meeting with my manager; speaking to Sally about Friday; and oh... God... I've got to buy a present for Joe and when will I fit that in?; the dry cleaning needs collecting....' and so it goes on.

3. Occasionally check in with your partner to clarify her point or to ensure you have understood her correctly. Use her words when you do this - it shows you are really listening and helps to build rapport.

4. A final tip - turn your mobile off and put it in your bag! There's nothing ruder or more distracting than having a mobile on the table!! - RW

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