Here are the final 4 steps you can take to overcome the barriers to effective listening:
1. Make sure your conversations take place at a time and place where you feel comfortable talking. If you are in a rush, defer the conversation until later. This will minimize external noise (e.g. interruptions).
2. Focus on the speaker by making a conscious effort to listen. Actually say to yourself, “For the next five minutes, I am only going to listen”.
3. Pay attention to nonverbal clues from the speaker such as body posture, facial expression and gestures (e.g., hand movements). This is significant because much of the content from the speaker’s message may derive from unspoken communication.
4. Have patience and be willing to let the speaker take some time to get his or her message across. Once again, this becomes especially important during multicultural communication. For example, if you are interacting with someone for whom English is the second language, it is important to listen patiently and give the person a chance to get his or her message across without any interruptions. Because the person is not speaking in his or her native tongue, additional time may be needed to effectively communicate the message. It’s during times like these that you really need to be patient.
NEXT POST – October 28, 2008