The companion to speaking is listening. Unfortunately, it’s not something that tend to do very well. I’ve put together a few guidelines for how to listen effectively:
- Shut up. No seriously, you can listen if you’re trying to speak.
- Quarantine yourself. Create as much privacy as possible for you and your partner.
- Pay attention. You can’t listen if you’re busy thinking about what you’re going to say next.
- Open your mind. You can’t listen if you’re trying to convince them of your point-of-view.
- Act interested. Do not multi-task, do not look distracted.
- Summarize periodically. At decent intervals, sum up what has been said in your own words.
- Ask intelligent, relevant questions to ensure you have all the information you need.
- Schedule a follow up conversation if necessary.
If you’d like to know more, I’d suggest checking out these website:
- Active Listening by Mindtools
- How to be a Good Listener by Roger Darlington
- Eight barriers to effective listening by Michael Webb.