With our phones constantly buzzing, our inboxes filling, and so many other things vying for our attention, it can be tough to focus, especially during a rare face-to-face conversation.
But active listening is essential for building strong relationships and showing respect for clients, employees, and more.
Here are a few simple active listening tips you can start using right away.
While many business meetings and connections have moved online or are done over the phone, face-to-face meetings still take place.
If you hold in-person meetings with your clients or employees, learning how to be an active, engaged listener is so important for showing and inspiring respect.
Perhaps the most important thing you can do during a face-to-face meeting is to make eye contact.
Eye contact is something that we are programmed to look for from a very young age. Experts have found that infants follow adults’ eyes, not just their heads, nearly from birth.
As adults, eye contact has a number of benefits. It makes our words stand out and helps the other person remember more of what we have said. It shows that you are confident about what you’re saying and that you believe in your message.
Plus, focusing on maintaining eye contact will help keep you from getting distracted by your phone or what is going on around you.
So much of business communication has moved to email and even text messaging.
When we send written communications, we also give ourselves a chance to react to what others are saying. Whether someone is trying to negotiate a business offer or an employee has a problem, we can think about how we want to respond and then carefully tailor our reactions.
But in a face-to-face conversation, we often don’t have that luxury of time.
Instead, it’s important to keep an open mind. If you don’t, you’ll likely quickly stop listening when the other person throws a curveball into the conversation.
You’ll be so busy trying to think about how you want to respond, that you may miss some of what they are saying.
Practicing keeping an open mind will help you more easily transition your conversation and react without losing focus.
Today, our attention spans average just 8 seconds. That’s one second less than a goldfish.
During a conversation, those short attention spans can cause our minds to wander to what we want to say. And rather than letting the other person finish, we may feel inclined to interrupt.
Not only does that mean that you’ll miss out on what the other person is saying, but it’s also very disrespectful.
No matter how important you think what you have to say is, resist that urge to interrupt. Let the other person finish, then state your ideas or opinion.
These active listening tips can help you improve your face-to-face or phone communication with employees, clients, and more.
When it comes to chatting with clients, these conversation tips can go a long way towards building loyalty and showing them how much you care.