Active listeners are a rare breed in our modern world. Our attention is monopolised by screens of all shapes and sizes and the art of really hearing what another person is trying to say is slowly fading. That said, being a good listener is a vital part of good relationships, both professionally and personally. Here are two tips for actively engaging as a listener in your next conversations.
1. Use your body
It’s not just an ear thing. Active listening requires your entire body to be in tune with the speaker and your body language should reflect that. Turn towards your conversation partner and lean slightly forward, an indication that you are receiving what they are sending.
2. Eliminate nervous tics
Nothing says you’re not interested in a conversation quite like fidgeting and fussing with your jewellery or neck tie. Sometimes these movements are automatic and we’re unconscious of them, but they’re distracting and oftentimes rude without us realising it. Without appearing wooden or stiff, work on keeping your body parts (hands, fingers, arms, legs or feet) still while the other person is speaking and give them your full attention.