The Wall Street Journal has a very good article today about listening skills. The article highlights factors that detract from effective listening and offers tips for becoming a better listener. What are some traps to avoid?
1. Don't begin formulating your response when the other party has just begun talking.
2. Don't filter what you are hearing based on pre-existing views you may have.
3. Don't multi-task.
What can you to improve? First, you can write down questions you would like to ask before a meeting takes place. Second, offer subtle signs (non-verbals) to demonstrate that you appreciate what the other party is saying. Third, repeat what you think you have heard and ask for confirmation that you have interpreted them correctly. Fourth, take notes to keep yourself focused. Fifth, maintain eye contact. Finally, set a goal of what percentage of time you plan to listen vs talk during a meeting.