Career Expert: Gayle Petrillo
So, as the new year kicks into the second quarter, and we hope it is VERY different from 2020, many people have made resolutions.
Whether you are someone who does or does not, no matter. I believe it is important to always strive to improve one’s self. So one of my resolutions for 2021 is to be a better listener. The other resolution I have made is to have patience. These two resolutions, for me, go hand in hand.
“By engaging active listening skills, we are better able to defuse situations and seek mutual solutions to problems.“
Most of us hear without giving it a second thought. Listening is different. It takes concentration. The purpose for listening is for understanding. It is important, as we truly listen, that we seek to understand.
If you are seeking a new job or your intention is to create better harmony in your personal life, possessing strong listening skills can go a long way in helping reach your goals.
Active listening takes practice. What is active listening? Active listening is a way of listening and responding to another person. And it allows us to build trust and establish a foundation for mutual understanding and respect. By engaging active listening skills, we are better able to defuse situations and seek mutual solutions to problems.
“Active listening encourages silence. The use of silence requires patience.”
Active Listening Encourages Silence:
In order to listen actively, we must focus. We are listening to understand. We commit to be non-judgmental. When we are truly listening, we remember what is being said and respond accordingly. Our responses, verbal and nonverbal show the speaker that we are paying attention. In addition, verbal responses can include asking questions, seeking clarification, summarizing and/or reflecting back what we think we heard. Nonverbal responses that indicate we are listening include smiling, having eye contact, and leaning in.
Active listening encourages silence. The use of silence requires patience. Above all, It is a powerful skill. Silence allows the other person to complete a thought and share it. Silence can indicate full attention, support, acceptance, understanding and empathy.
Listen And Respond:
I coach my clients on the use of the acronym WAIT – Why Am I Talking? The reason is that many of us interrupt. We do so because we tend to anticipate what the other person is going to say. This is our reaction. As they are talking, we are thinking about our response. Remember, you can’t listen when you are talking.
Take time when engaging in conversation. Practicing good listening skills will enrich your life and the life of the individual who is fortunate enough to be on the receiving end.
About the Author:
Gayle Petrillo is President of First Impressions, Image Consulting. Gayle is an image consultant working with both businesses and individuals. Her services include: customer service training; team building skills; secret shopper services; gossip avoidance techniques; closet analysis; wardrobe transformations, personal shopping; employment coaching; and presentation skills.