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four ways to listen effectively
Created on November 3, 2014

Four Ways to Listen Effectively

Written by Derek Ho, Account Director, Sandbox Brand Marketing

Effective listening was a recent topic we discussed at our weekly town hall meeting here at Sandbox.  This is a skill set where we strive to master because it supports developing creative solutions for our clients.  We regularly hold and facilitate brand workshops and understand that effective listening requires concentration - It's definitely not just about hearing the words spoken.

To sum up the lessons learned over the years, here are 4 ways to listen effectively:

1. Stop talking.
'Dead Air' and pregnant pauses are great moments to exercise listening effectively.  Sometimes people unconsciously speak this way because they are looking to create added emphasis or perhaps looking to create resolution to a point being made.  When listening effectively, you will that there is no need to comment all the time.  

2. Stop thinking.
There is always an urge to think of how to respond to someone in a conversation.  This can prove to be a distraction and typically leads to missing out on what was just communicated or completely misinterpreting what was heard. Stop the habit of editing your respond in your mind during a conversation.  Dial the noise in your head to low.

3. Look them in the eye.
A simple yet effective physical means to engage with.  Maintain eye contact as it shows you are actively focused on the person speaking to you.  

4. Ask why at least 3 times.
Create the opportunity to listen further by asking a simple question - Why? - at least 3 times.  This allows for you to dig deeper and encourages the speaker to offer different perspectives to the subject matter being discussed.  This is a very useful tool to utilize especially when you are in a problem-solving scenario. 

"The most basic and powerful way to connect to another person is to listen.  Just listen.  Perhaps the most important  thing we ever give each other is our attention."  - Rachel N.R.