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There are those who listen and those who wait to talk. Which one are you?

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Contrary to popular belief, having the gift of gab does not necessarily make you a good communicator. Listening is the key! When you listen, you can respond with answers that are appropriate and thought out.

Listening is one of the most important communication skill you can posses. When you really listen, your communication is more effective and can have a big impact in business. It is all about self-awareness. You know if you have a bad habit of not listening well. If this is the case, practice a few “active listening” techniques to help you be a better communicator. Remember, a good listener does not interrupt someone while they are speaking. Always allow others to complete his or her thoughts!

Exercise

  1. Write down words on your note pad to jog your memory about what feedback you wish to contribute to the question when in a meeting.
  2. Pay attention by looking directly at person with whom are speaking with and “listen” to his or hers body language.
  3. Show that you are listening by using your own body language, such as a nod of the head to nonverbally say I hear you. You can also use small comments to encourage conversation by saying yes, or I understand.
  4. Paraphrasing the question is letting others know that you understand what is being asked. For example, you might say “What I am hearing is…”.
  5. Try asking questions to clarify certain points. For example, you might say “What do you mean by…?”
  6. Summarize the speaker’s comments periodically.

While I am on the subject of listening, let me address something that is critical about communication. Communication should be a dialogue, not a monologue. And avoid talking about yourself only. In other words, be aware of how you balance the conversation.

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