Have you ever had a conversation with someone who made you feel like you were the only person in the world at that moment? Did it make you feel really important? Did that person make you feel he/she was truly engaged with what you were saying?
That person knew, subconsciously perhaps, how to be a “power listener”. It’s a technique that is very useful in either social or professional settings to get the most from a conversation.
Here are 4 simple techniques to use when listening to get the most from the conversation:
Maintain good eye contact. By doing this, you are showing your conversation partner that you are fully engaged and interested in what he or she is saying. Use the 80/20 rule, in which 80% of the time your eyes are meeting your speaking partner’s, and 20% of the time, your eyes are roaming as you gather information to say.
Slow your thought processes down. The average person speaks between 135 and 160 words per minute, but the average person’s brain works between 400 and 600 words per minute. This means your thoughts are a lot faster than your conversation partner’s mouth, which makes it easy for your mind to drift. Work to stop your mind from shifting away from the conversation; be truly present. You be able to fully absorb what your partner says and be able to respond in kind, which makes them feel appreciated and understood.
Give a little feedback. Make the effort to give the occasional nod, smile, or other sign of recognition to your conversation partner. There’s nothing worse than speaking to someone who gives no verbal feedback. It’s like talking to a wall. These nonverbal cues may seem trivial, but have tremendous impact by showing your interest, understanding and involvement in the conversation.
Create a welcoming space for your conversation partner. When you are speaking one-on-one with someone from a seated position, lean slightly in, open up your chest, pull your shoulders back, and fold your hands gently in your lap or on the table in front of you. If you are standing, form a reversed hand steeple, in which the fingers come together to form a point. When someone steeples in the lap area, it displays that they understand & accept what’s being said.
Have a great day!