How to improve your listening skills?

Try to implement the following tips:

  • Paraphrase the message to the speaker in order to confirm your understanding. If you put the message in your own words, you concentrate more on what was said, making you listen better.
  • Repeat the message to help you remember what was said.In this way, you ensure that you not only are listening but really understand what was said.
  • Probe for missing information.By requesting or asking questions, you find out any information that may have been missing in the communications or that you need or want.
  • Clarify any points that you might not completely understand.This also ensures that you have heard exactly what the other person intended to communicate.

5 Ways to have a great conversations

  1. Show interest in the other person, and their world and pay attention to their interests. Use this to start a conversation with an open-ended question. If you can respond positively to a topic, you have made a great start.
  2. Practice active listening by focusing on what the other person in the conversation is saying. Pay attention to both nonverbal and verbal communication and not the the response, you are going to give. A good way to improve your active listening skills is to spend time with a friend, and repeat and acknowledge what s/he just said.
  3. Pay attention to your body language. Make eye contact with the conversation partner and focus your posture on the speaker. In a meeting, you can turn the chair or sit up straight when someone is talking to you. Engage in the conversation by showing empathy towards their feelings.
  4. Ask good questions and stay curious during a conversation. Follow-up questions related to what the other person said help to develop the conversation and keep it going. Therefore, you can find mutual interests or experiences that you have in common and keep the conversation flowing naturally.
  5. Consider time and space when engaging in conversations. Good conversation requires a slow, relaxed pace and a pressure-free atmosphere free of distractions and noise.

Reproduced from 50 Communications Activities, Icebreakers, and Exercises, by Peter R. Garber.Amherst, MA, HRD Press, 2008

5 Ways to have a great conversations –