Are you listening to me?

I’m easily distracted — fact

I often fall into the trap in meetings of checking my phone, looking at my iPad and even dreaming. I also find it tough when sitting down with my team in the office. That little beep that lets me know there’s an email on the way or the flash of a facebook notification in the corner of my screen. These little things take my attention away from the person in front of me. I think of myself as a good listener and a super multi tasker.

It can’t be difficult to listen to someone and keep an eye on facebook can it?

It can and I’ve been caught out a number of times. I think I’m listening but I miss the important part. I may have heard the words but I might not have observed the body language, or picked up on the tone and as a result my response has been poor.

I hate it when I feel people aren’t listening to me but I do it to them.

But I’ve been working on this and here are my top tips to improve your listening skills

  1. Don’t get distracted — phones, computers, door etc
  2. Concentrate — don’t use the time when they’re talking to formulate your response — most information is not remembered because we are thinking of OUR response to the speaker and therefore missed what was said.
  3. Give adequate time — don’t rush things along
  4. Show that you are listening– repeat things back from time to time, gives chance for speaker clarification
  5. Take notes — makes people feel important, increases the chance of you following up on what you say you’re going to do
  6. Do not interrupt — hear your listener out before wading in with your own opinion/solution: wait for the other person to ask your opinion
  7. Ask open ended questions — not questions like ‘you didn’t like that movie did you?’ ‘do I look fat in this? Ask instead: ‘how do you feel about that?’
  8. Watch out for body language — maintain good eye contact (but don’t stare), nod your head in agreement, or smile at the right time: + watch out for their body language and feed off it
  9. Never minimise their issues — if it’s important to them, it’s important
  10. 2 Ears, 1 Mouth — use them in proportion

Have you ever been told you were not listening?

What are your top tips?

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