The development of effective listening skills is essential to success in business. Improving listening skills requires recognizing signs of poor listening and eliminating or compensating for barriers to effective listening. Listening barriers can be physical, personal, gender, semantic or technological. One of the most egregious examples of a barrier creating bad listening habits in today’s hyper-connected, multi-tasking world is the tendency to constantly check our smartphones or email in the middle of meetings and conversations. Limiting how often we check our communication devices and focusing on the conversation at hand can work wonders for our communication skills.
Think about a situation when you were in a meeting with someone where the conversation was interrupted repeatedly by the ping of his or her smartphone. Did they stop to answer each incoming message? Did you feel like your colleague really valued and listened to you? What role did the smartphone play in this encounter? What advice do you have for people who are faced with a situation like this in the future? 2.Nonverbal communication is responsible for more than half the meaning of our communication. Most nonverbal rules are learned by imitation, as they are unwritten and often unconscious. You can improve your nonverbal communication skills by paying attention to expectancy violations theory, learning to use immediacy behaviors, and working to adopt more effective nonverbal habits. People expect certain behaviors from others and feel most comfortable interacting with them when they receive the expected nonverbal cues. Making good eye contact, smiling, and speaking in warm, conversational tones creates a comfortable feeling of immediacy and rapport.
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Envision going on an interview for your dream job. What would you wear for the interview? What materials would you bring with you to the interview? How do these things communicate nonverbally? What type of first impression would you wish to project? What nonverbal behaviors will allow you do to that?