Ever sit next to that person on the plane that just won’t stop talking? You put your ear buds in and they STILL continue to blabber on about their brother’s friend’s mother and her small poodle that does amazing tricks. So, you pull your jacket over your head and yet they still can’t seem to get the hint that you don’t want to be bothered. This is a prime example of not “listening” to body language.
Sign #1: Can you repeat what your co-worker just said?
Really, try it. In a normal conversation, how often can you repeat or summarize what someone just said? It was only 5 seconds ago, so why is it so hard? Often times, we are already thinking about our response before that person is even done with their sentence. Thus, we miss the majority of their message. So, next time you’re at work (or better yet, at home) try to repeat what they’re saying and really listen before you respond. Better yet, summarize verbally what your co-worker said, so that way they know you heard them.
Sign #2: What’s your body language telling your co-workers?
How often does a co-worker come by your cubicle to ask you a question and you continue to respond to that important email from your Vice President while trying to listen to them at the same time? Anyone can do that, right? Wrong! No matter how good you are at multitasking, your body language is telling your co-worker that your email is more important than they are. Whether or not that’s true, try your hardest to do one thing at a time in order to maintain the best communication possible. Can’t resist the urge to multitask? Remove the distractions by pushing away from your desk or standing up to talk to them. You’ll then be able to give them your full attention.
Sign #3: Are mannerisms distracting you?
We all know that person that fidgets or paces incessantly while they talk. Sometimes, habits or gestures during a conversation can distract you…A LOT! Do your best to ignore these habits as some people are more nervous or energetic than others. Focus on what they’re saying, on the tone of their voice, and their body language. By ignoring these tendencies, you can hear their message without being completely distracted.
Working on one of these telltale signs at a time can help you to be a better listener both at work and at home.
*Feature Picture: Shutterstock