When someone is
speaking, focus. If you're paying attention,
you'll likely be showing signs of focus
– such as making eye contact – without thinking about it at all.
Below are some of the ways we
show we're listening.
Maintain eye contact. In the
US, not making eye contact
has the connotation of someone untrustworthy. But realize, too,
that steady eye contact in some
is considered impolite or aggressive.
Give non-verbal clues. Nod, lean toward the speaker, take
on the general demeanor of someone who is interested.
Encourage the speaker to go on. Especially over the
phone, hearing no response feels like no one is listening.
Don't be a verbal trespasser. A verbal trespasser is one
who interrupts or finishes the speaker's sentences.
Ask open questions. Open questions encourage the
speaker. They elicit a more detailed response than closed
questions. "What" and "Why" are usually helpful starts to open
Summarize. Summarizing is often helpful, especially if
you have had a misunderstanding, are unsure of expectations, or
have just reached an agreement. Ensure that everyone is coming
away with the same idea.