Four Tips to Improve Your Listening Skills

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We admit it, when we’re introduced to someone new within a few minutes if there’s not a nametag in sight, we’re inclined to forget the person’s name.

Sound familiar?

That’s why this piece in The Wall Street Journal caught our attention. Listening skills are critical to business success, not just during an introduction but during meetings, conference calls and even casual conversations. Here are some pointers to help bolster those listening skills so you stay on point and engaged in each and every encounter…

1. Do a data dump. Per the piece, a communication skills coach recommends writing down all of your thoughts that might distract you from listening. Set aside the paper for later.

2. Take notes and make eye contact during the meeting. Be deliberate about your note taking to truly capture what the person’s saying but be tactful, too. If you’re attending a business lunch it’s not like you’ll whip out a legal-sized pad to start jotting down ideas but why not take out your smart phone to take a few notes?

3. Set a goal. Go into a conversation expecting you’ll meet a talking-to-listening ratio. Need an example? Aim to talk 25 percent of the time as you listen the other 75 percent of the time.

4. RASA. Receive, appreciate, summarize and ask. So, you can start by paying attention to the person and then follow up by making noises like “hmmm” and “oh.” Next, summarize what the other person stated and finally, ask questions.