?When you talk to your boss, colleagues, customers or spouse for ten minutes, they pay attention to less than half of the conversation,? says Tom Hallet, Commissioning Editor for Mind Tools. Fortunately, there is a way to become a more effective listener and encourage others to do the same: practice "active listening." Hallet defines this type of listening as being ?aware you make a conscious effort to hear not only the words that another person is saying but, more importantly, try to understand the complete message being sent.?
For planning meetings, the ultimate goal is to increase attendance and create a memorable event. By encouraging leaders, facilitators, speakers and yourself to practice active listening attendees will perceive "this message is important, I should listen too." This takes creating a memorable meeting to a whole new level and attendees are likely to retain more than 50 percent!
Here are five tips from Hallet to become a more effective active listener:
- Pay attention: Give the speaker your attention and acknowledge the message.
- Show that you're listening: Use body language to demonstrate you're paying attention.
- Provide feedback: Relay the message back and give further comments or ask questions.
- Defer judgment: Refrain from interrupting, which leads to frustration for all.
- Respond appropriately: Nothing is gained from attacking the speaker so make comments or questions productive.