Listening is a powerful tool that can help you become a better businessperson. Think of all the miscommunications issues you’ve had in the past and you’ll probably realize that they could have been avoided by listening more carefully to the other person.
You may think of listening as a passive, or automatic activity. The truth is than great listening takes practice and familiarity with the techniques outlined below.
Focus in Order to Listen Effectively
This may sound simple, but some people get so caught up in formulating their answer that they’re unable to listen to what the other person is saying. It’s OK to think ahead and make mental notes, but never at the cost of drifting off mentally in the middle the conversation. Avoid distractions, put away your phone, and strive to be fully present. If you are distraction-prone, you can try to stay focused by making a mental model of what the other person is saying as you listen to them.
Paraphrase the Message
After the other person talks, use your own words to restate what they said. This way you will make sure you got the right message. By applying this simple method, you can improve dramatically your listening skills and avoid some miscommunication headaches. However, don’t repeat the other person’s words literally. Instead, paraphrase as a subtle way to demonstrate that you have listened and assimilated the message.
Pay Attention to Nonverbal Communication
Human communication is a complex process that goes beyond words. Listening also entails paying attention to nonverbal cues that in some cases can be more eloquent that the words being spoken. For example, these are some negative body signs you should be aware of:
- Lack of eye contact
- Staring at their phone
- Invasion of persona space
- Folded arms
At the same time, be sure to send the right signals. Nod and position your body towards the other person to show that you care about what they say and that they have your undivided attention.
Here at the Greater Riverside Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, we are committed to supporting small businesses and economic development with advocacy, business referrals, marketing opportunities, training programs, student internships and scholarships.