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Research shows that we have a tendency to remember just 25 percent of what we hear. The ability to listen is a key skill in communicating effectively, without this skill communication breaks down. If there is one skill you should aim to master then listening is it. Here are some tips on how to become a good listener:
Becoming an effective listener takes a lot of concentration, remind yourself that your objective is to really hear what the other person is saying, put other thoughts out of your mind and concentrate on the message.
Ask questions, reflect and summarise the information that you’ve received to ensure you understand the message.
Give your undivided attention to the person who is speaking. Look at the speaker directly, take note of their body language, it will help you understand the message being conveyed.
Presenting an open posture will also show that you are interested in what they are saying and make sure you are in the best position to concentrate. Try not to fold your arms, cross your legs or position yourself at a slight angle from the person you’re listening to.
Always wait until you've taken in all of what they have to say before offering up your own thoughts or advice. Don't presume that the only way you can add value to the conversation is by adding your own opinion.
While the techniques listed above may sound like common sense, it's surprising how many of us neglect to do these in our daily work lives. Do the simple things right and the rest will follow.
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