Recently I attended a volunteer training for the Oasis House at which they presented a handout with skills for effective listening. Many people over the years have told me I’m a good listener, and yet I found myself challenged to become better at some of these skills.
Since most of us need to be reminded more than we need to be taught, check out this list and select a few to work on in the coming weeks:
- Establish rapport: create mutual trust through your tone of voice and thoughtful questions
- Eye contact: communicates attentiveness and respect
- Attentive skills: lean forward or nod your head to emphasize your interest; use verbal responses like “yes” or “I see” to communicate that you’re following them
- Tracking: either verbatim (repeating the words the speaker just said) or paraphrased (restating the content in your own words)
- Story listening: requires patience; listen for themes that will help you respond
- Language: listen for “cue words” that build a communication bond between you and the speaker
- Congruent positioning: shift your attentive posture to a congruent position in short intervals (i.e. mimic her body position)
I’ll be working on my story listening in the coming days…which of these will you focus on to enhance your listening skills? Take a moment to respond below.