Listening is a practice that requires practice. And if you’ve read my previous posts so far you know the first three skills required: Eye Contact, Pay Attention, Don't Rush. Are you all masters at that yet? Well, don’t worry if you’re not. It can take some time but even if you make a mistake, being aware of any of these skills helps for the future. Anyway, the next skill is . . .
Skill # 4 – Give Cues
Giving Cues during the conversation (Verbal or physical) shows how you are paying attention (or maybe even not).
If you want to show you are paying attention, here are some positive examples:
Verbal Cues: Say things like “I see”, "Uh-huh", “I hear what you are saying”, “Go on”, or “Please continue”, repeat a short piece of what they said, ask short confirming questions like “So what you are saying is…” and then sum up what you think they said.
Physical Cues: You are facing the person, nodding or shaking your head, maybe even leaning in towards them, arms are not crossed against the chest
When someone who shows you cues (and the more the better) you really feel that you are being heard. Not show any cues and you will feel exactly the opposite.
For a personal story…Losing my "Bitch Wings"....
During my Communication Seminar, I learned that my body language was giving off the completely wrong message. I had always felt that by having your hands on your hips it was saying, “I am taking you seriously.” But actually at the seminar they let me know that they had another name for it . . . “Bitch Wings”. They pointed out that having our hands on your hips with your elbows sticking out was actually an aggressive posture. This was not my intent at all! From that day on, though I had to break myself of the habit of putting my hands on my hips so as not to accidentally give the wrong message.