One of the most important soft skills to master is the ability to listen effectively.
Effective listening is the ability to understand and display interest in the information or topic being discussed. It can also include asking a question and providing feedback to show you understand.
Most of us believe we already know how to do this, but do we really? Studies have shown that that the average person listens at only about 25% efficiency1. So, if you want to master this soft skill, start paying attention to how well you listen. Here are some tips that might help:
- Face the person you’re talking to and make good eye contact
- Make sure your facial expression is appropriate and shows interest
- Monitor your body language – relax!
- Ask clarifying questions, don’t just assume you know
- Paraphrase the speaker to clarify and show understanding
- Display a positive attitude
- Don’t interrupt and ignore distractions
Need more? Here’s a great article by Forbes
- Husman, R. C., Lahiff, J. M., & Penrose, J. M. (1988). Business Communication: Strategies and skills. Chicago: Dryden Press.