Inspiration

Hello! Is anybody listening?

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Have you ever met up with someone who boasts they are a great listener, only to find out the contrary?

It’s normally after 20 minutes into the ‘conversation’ and you haven’t said a word where you realise their idea about talking and listening is a little askew.

Listening is everything. It can be the difference between getting the sale or not, getting a journalist interested in you, or securing that new business opportunity.

When I started exploring my personal brand I realised that as an introvert I listen a lot. In a conversation I’ll ask questions, rather than talk. In a meeting I’ll do the same.

But it’s more than just listening. It’s being present. You know when you’re talking to someone and they just don’t seem to be paying attention or they talk over the top of you. That’s annoying and makes you want to ditch the conversation.

Becoming a better listener can improve productivity as well as your ability to influence and negotiate. And who doesn’t want that? So how can you become a better listener? Here are some thoughts.

Be in the conversation

Don’t think about what you’re going to watch on Netflix that night, stare over their shoulder or think about the next thing you want to say. Pay attention and actively hear what they are saying so you can understand, respond and remember the conversation.

Visual cues

Think about the last conversation you were in when the person didn’t show they were listening. I’m sure it impacted how you felt about them. Have eye contact and nod to show you’re listening, as well as verbally with words such as yes and uh huh. You might want to also mirror their body language.

Don’t interrupt

This is one of my pet hates. Don’t interrupt or speak over the person. It frustrates the speaker and makes them feel that their words are not important. We all think and speak at different rates, so allow the other person to speak at their own pace.

I feel that genuine listening is beautiful. You are gifting the person your time and attention and showing them you care. It builds relationships, rapport with colleagues and makes the world a better place.

About Catriona Pollard

Catriona Pollard is the author of From Unknown To Expert, a step by step framework designed to help entrepreneurs develop effective PR and social media strategies to become recognised as influencers in their field. Visit Unknown to ExpertCatriona is also the director of CP Communications, which merges traditional PR tactics with cutting-edge social media strategies that engage consumers as well as business. Visit Catriona's website

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