Active listening means paying attention to the speaker and giving them your complete attention, without interrupting or trying to decide what you will say next. It’s important to be aware of what silent signals you may be sending with your body language when you are listening. Are you looking at the speaker as they talk, or looking elsewhere? (Hopefully, you are not looking at your phone!)
Are you standing with your arms folded, or hands on hips? These postures can communicate defensiveness or aggression, which may not be the right message for the situation. A relaxed, open stance is always acceptable body language when you are conversing with a client or other stakeholder.
When it’s your turn to speak, how do you respond? Asking open-ended questions can help advance the conversation and further strengthen relationships. Restating the speaker’s position shows that you heard what was said and conveys empathy and understanding.
Try these active listening techniques any time you communicate with stakeholders and make note of the results!
Alicomm International works with businesses of all sizes in the areas of media relations, crisis management, investor relations, brand advocacy, stakeholder relations and presentation skills training. Trainings can be customized for industry and company, to suit your needs. For more information, contact Alison Freeman at (972) 217-4642.