Listening is one of the most important forms of art. I personally learn through listening and to a lesser extent reading and observing. I’ve always believed in the power of words and the way the message is framed -or- the discussion is structured.
I believe good listening makes it easier to build trust, rapport, and confidence. Listening is time well spent in my view. Listening is not just what we heard, it’s also what we understood. We can express that we’re actually engaged in the conversation and we’re paying attention by:
"Attending": By head nods or eye contact. This shows you are paying attention to the other party. We should never look around when someone is talking to us without providing explanation.
"Paraphrasing": By reflecting back key words and messages. We should reflect back the content and the emotion of what the speaker is saying. Paraphrasing shows that you have understood the main message.
"Summarizing": or recapping is used to call out the main points and provide focus to the conversation. I try to summarize after several pieces of information have been disclosed.
"Clarifying": By asking questions. I think this ensures understanding and gain more detail about the subject. I make sure to clarify information that is vague or unclear before proceeding to the next point.
…………. We should listen, let’s the words swirl around our heads, and then form an opinion.