How to be an active listener

Understanding your prospect’s needs – How to be an active listener

 

Listening and Questioning are like salt and pepper, where they work and complement each other. You may ask the right questions but if you do not listen then these questions were pointless and if you are good at listening but you’ve asked the wrong questions then the information you are effectively listening to is irrelevant.

Active Listening

 

Active listening is to fully concentrate on what is being said rather than just passively hearing the message of the speaker. It involves listening with all senses.

Give full attention to the speaker

And……

Be ‘seen’ to be listening

… otherwise the speaker may conclude that what they are talking about is uninteresting to the listener.

Interest can be conveyed to the speaker by using both verbal and non-verbal messages:

  • Maintaining eye contact
  • Nodding your head and smiling
  • Agreeing by saying ‘yes’ or simply ‘mmm hmm’ to encourage them to continue.

By providing this ‘feedback’ the person speaking will usually feel more at ease and therefore communicate more easily, openly and honestly.

Active Listeners should:

  • Remain neutral and non-judgemental-not trying not to take sides or form opinions, especially early in the conversation.
  • Show patience – pauses and short periods of silence should be accepted.

Listeners should not be tempted to jump in with questions or comments every time there are a few seconds of silence. Active listening involves giving the other person time to explore their thoughts and feelings, they should, therefore, be given adequate time for that.

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