It’s spring time! Time to dust off the shelves, sweep behind the couch and clean out our…ears? As we build and enhance our networking
skills and learn the best ways to find, grow, and keep our business, we need to
work on one of the most critical skills in our development—the ability to
listen. Listening is an essential part of making a real connection with people
who you can help and who can help you.
Consciously using active listening skills is a must. Rate
yourself on a scale of 1 to 5 on these essential skills. Give yourself a 5 if,
“I always do this with ease and confidence,” and 1 if, “I rarely do this and
feel awkward when I do.”
- I make eye contact. I always look the other person in the eye during our conversation and focus my full attention on him or her.
- I ask questions for clarification. If I don’t understand, I ask the other person to explain so that I can understand better.
- I show concern by acknowledging feelings. I also listen with my eyes. I use positive body language by nodding and smiling when appropriate.
- I try to understand the speaker’s point of view before giving mine. I recognize that the other person is far more interested in stating his or her point of view than in hearing mine.
- I am poised and emotionally controlled. I hold back from jumping to conclusions or interrupting with what I want to say when the other person is speaking.
- I react nonverbally with a smile or a nod. I know this shows my interest and allows the person to continue without interruption.
- I pay close attention and do not let my mind wander. I am careful not to allow my mind to take a mental excursion.
- I avoid interrupting. I always let the other person finish.
- I avoid changing the subject without warning. Changing the subject abruptly relays that you are not listening and only want to talk about whatever is on your mind.
How did you do?
If you scored 35-45, you’re an exceptional listener!
If you scored 25-34, you’re a very good listener.
If you scored 20-24, you’re an average listener.
If you scored 15-19, keep working, you’ll improve…and maybe
get those Q-Tips out!
Take a good look at the areas where your rating could
improve. Start to work on these, while continuing to practice the skills you’ve
already mastered. Take the test again in two weeks. Watch how your ratings increase
when you commit to improving your listening skills!