Listening goes beyond hearing. How often have you been in a conversation, hearing the other person's words, only to realize after a few moments you had no clue as to what they had said?
Here are some clues to really "hear" the other person:
- Ask questions. Be sure you understand what the other person has said.
- Repeat it back to the other person in your own words. "So, you really don't think you're going to apply for that position? Wow. I didn't know that."
- Act interested. If your body language is focused on the speaker, you have a tendency to actually pay attention.
- Be aware of the other person's body language and non-verbal expressions for clues about how they really feel.
- Listen for what the other person is trying to say, but just can't find the words. Probe for further insight.
Remember, it takes two to communicate. If you take more responsibility for your role in the conversation, your chances of better communication improve dramatically.