Published on February 7, 2014
5 Traits of Awesomely Active Listeners (We Hear You!) www.ovationcomm.com @OvationComm
“Listening is not merely hearing. Listening is reacting. Listening is being affected by what you hear. Listening is active.” -Michael Shurtleff, Broadway Casting Director Author of Audition www.ovationcomm.com @OvationComm
We listen at 125-250 words per minute. We think at 1,000-3,000 words per minute. http://www.prdaily.com/Main/Articles/Listening_facts_you_never_knew_14645.aspx#. www.ovationcomm.com @OvationComm
That means if we don’t pay attention to our listening in a conversation, our mind can run away on us! (Figuratively, of course.) www.ovationcomm.com @OvationComm
All conversations and relationship building activities benefit from good Active Listening. www.ovationcomm.com @OvationComm
Active Listening keeps us present in a conversation, lets the speaker know they are being heard, and forges a connection through honest, focused interaction. www.ovationcomm.com @OvationComm
Want to be a better Active Listener? (Of course! We all do.) www.ovationcomm.com @OvationComm
Here are 5 Traits of Awesomely Active Listeners that you can adopt for all of your communication. www.ovationcomm.com @OvationComm
Trait 1: Good active listeners ask open-ended questions. www.ovationcomm.com @OvationComm
The best way to get a conversation going is to ask an open-ended question; one that can’t be answered with a simple “Yes” or “No”. Open-ended questions show your conversation partner that you are interested in their experiences. www.ovationcomm.com @OvationComm
Open-ended questions start with phrases like: “What are your thoughts on…. ?” “How do you feel about…?” “How would you have handled…?” If you are good at listening actively, you’re comfortable letting someone else share. www.ovationcomm.com @OvationComm
Trait 2: Good active listeners use the Head Nod. www.ovationcomm.com @OvationComm
A Head Nod is visual proof that you are listening to what is being said. Coupled with good open body language, your conversation partner knows you’re completely engaged. www.ovationcomm.com @OvationComm
Did You Know? “Scientists call our ability to zero in on a single speaker amid a cacophony of other sounds the cocktail party problem.” – Mary Bates, brainfacts.org http://www.brainfacts.org/Sensing-Thinking-Behaving/Awareness-and-Attention/Articles/2013/The-Cocktail-Party-Problem We’ll drink to that! www.ovationcomm.com @OvationComm
Trait 3: Good active listeners use small verbal interjections while listening. www.ovationcomm.com @OvationComm
While not an interruption, small, simple verbal responses help keep the conversation flowing. They are the equivalent of saying “Yes! Tell me more!” www.ovationcomm.com @OvationComm
Good verbal interjections include: “Yes!” “Right.” “MmmHmm.” “Sure.” www.ovationcomm.com @OvationComm
Trait 4: Good active listeners use strong eye contact. www.ovationcomm.com @OvationComm
Don’t worry, this doesn’t mean staring creepily at the speaker! It DOES mean you should let your primary focus be the speaker, rather than letting your eyes wander around the room (or off into space!) for extended periods of time. www.ovationcomm.com @OvationComm
Think in terms of three seconds: Every three seconds or so, refresh your eye contact with a blink or a quick eye movement. But remember your PRIMARY FOCUS should be the speaker!
Trait 5: Good active listeners can comment and share when appropriate. www.ovationcomm.com @OvationComm
www.ovationcomm.com @OvationComm Conversations are a two way street. As such, the listener and the speaker should trade on and off. That’s what makes things interesting! Truly awesomely active listeners can relate on-topic and empathize with the speaker because they’ve heard and internalized the speaker’s message.
When it’s the Active Listener’s time to take the stage, they may share thoughts or stories that start with: “That reminds me of the time….” “I’m so glad you shared that…” “May I tell you some thoughts that brought to mind?...” “I hear what you are saying, but I don’t agree. Let me tell you why….” www.ovationcomm.com @OvationComm
Awesomely active listening skills improve your communication across the board. What do you think about that? Go on. We’re listening. www.ovationcomm.com @OvationComm
For more totally actionable and completely doable professional skills content, visit us at www.ovationcomm.com, or follow us on Twitter @OvationComm. We’d be pleased to hear from you. #ForEveryStage Or why not download “100 Instant Speech Topics” here?
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