Speak for Yourself

Claire Duffy's blog about public speaking and communication (in real life). Speak well, do well!

Using Listening Techniques to Improve Your Communication

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To be an effective communicator, you have to be a good listener first. Take these key concepts on board:

Attending: This means showing that you’re paying attention. You can do that by ensuring that your body language is open and that you’re facing your  audience, and by giving good eye contact. Also nod your head to show you’re listening, and provide minimal verbal cues such as uttering ‘uh, um’ at key points.

Restating: If someone has said something particularly important, demonstrate your understanding by repeating it back – ‘So you’re saying you want me to finish this by Tuesday and give you a draft to take to the Executive meeting’

Clarifying: If you’re not sure that you’ve understood something, ask for clarification – ‘So are you saying you want me to me to finish this by Tuesday and give you a draft to take to the Executive meeting ?’

Summarising: When you’ve dealt with a lot of information, you can draw together the main threads to show that you’ve got the full story – ‘So we can’t manage the timeline we’d planned on and you’re worried about getting finished on time, so you want me to call the boss and see if we can renegotiate the delivery date.’

Encouraging: To demonstrate that you want to listen and you want to hear more, use minimal encouragers to keep conversation flowing. For example, say something like ‘And then what happens?’ or ‘In what way?’ or simply ‘Go on.’

Being quiet: Make sure that you don’t do all the talking. Give plenty of space for other to speak, and allow quiet times so others think about what they want to say next. Extraverts – while this is happening, make sure that you don’t get distracted and start trying to fill the silence up, but continue to attend physically. Introverts – remember to verbalise your views fully.

This is adapted from a Dummmies’ Guide  cheat sheet, and is  an excellent reminder that listening to others is just as important as presenting to them.Related articles

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