One of the most important factors for being successful in both your personal and your business relationships is in mastering your listening skills. Practicing the tips below and applying them throughout the day can reap noticeable benefits! 

1. Listen twice as much as you speak. It’s the best way to find out what people want, need and how they feel, and gives you all the details for meeting their needs, winning them as customers, or building friendships.

2. Focus on what they are saying instead of thinking of what you are going to say next. Focusing on the speaker’s face and body language makes you the kind of conversationalist people want to be around!  Your responses will be more helpful and natural when you are fully engaged in your conversation.

3. Listen for their true feelings, opinions and concerns when people share instead of merely listening TO them. These include their values, feelings, needs, strengths, weaknesses, etc. That is when the floodgates of communication are truly open and progress is made.

4. Determine if the person talking to you is expressing facts or feelings. Respond with extra care and sensitivity when the person is expressing feelings and opinions as being insensitive can harm or even break business and personal relationships. Even if you don’t agree, it’s still important to them! 

5. Be silent when they are sharing feelings if you do not know what to say. Simply nod in understanding, show compassion and resist the temptation to say something just to be saying something. Do make encouraging sounds so they know that you are listening and you care.

6. Use short responses when the speaker is sharing something that is very important to them so he/she doesn’t get impatient feeling your agenda is more important and is therefore now dominating the conversation.

7. Most importantly, the attitude of your heart and respect to the listener is always more crucial and more obvious than anything that you say. Putting ourselves in another person’s shoes is much more important than trying to be a brilliant orator…and much more effective.

8.  Ensure that your body language matches your words as that is the true indication of how you really feel.