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Keys to Active Listening

by Jennifer Fairweather, Human Resources Director
comments open from November 21 until December 10

The end of the year tends to be a busy time for many -- between work and family obligations as well as preparing for the various holiday celebrations. Because of the many activities going on, the opportunities for miscommunication abound. Now is a great time to refocus on active listening skills. Active listening not only prevents miscommunication, but it can also increase productivity, minimize potential conflicts and prevent costly mistakes.

So what are the keys to active listening?
>> First, focus your attention on the speaker while removing any distractions. Distractions can include noises such as music, television or other people engaging in a conversation. Other distractions can include things such as checking your email or merely thinking about something else.

>> Second, let the speaker know you are listening. Simple gestures such as nodding or short responses such as “o.k.” are helpful. Maintaining eye contact is important as well.

>> Third, make sure you understood the message by clarifying your understanding of what was said. This is a critical component of minimizing any miscommunication.

Whether communicating at work, out in public or with family, active listening is key to effective communication.

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