You’ve been caught. You’re in a conversation, and rather than listening, you were focusing on an upcoming deadline or meeting. It’s OK; we’ve all been there.
PR pros have become accustomed to the instability of frequent shifts and changes. However, it is crucial that we focus on the things we can control—including actively listening.
How can we be better listeners? Here a few helpful tips to try out:
1. Maintain eye contact. Don’t make it into a staring contest, but keep a healthy level of eye contact to let the speaker know you’re paying attention. According to a study conducted by Cornell University, maintaining eye contact builds a connection between two people. To avoid distractions, put your phone away and shut off your laptop.
2. Listen between the lines. Nonverbal communication resonates as much as verbal exchanges do. When listening, pay attention to facial expressions, tone of voice and gestures. Sometimes a speaker means one thing, but their body language says something else. Picking up on these cues can bring a more well-rounded understanding of what someone is saying.