To be effective listeners we must involve the whole body.

Not only are our ears tuned in, but so are our eyes, our minds (the intellect),
our bodies, our hearts and our intuition. Good listeners give both nonverbal and verbal signals that they are listening.
A “whole body” listener tunes in by

  • Conveying a positive encouraging attitude
  • Sitting in a attentive posture
  • Remaining alert, but comfortable
  • Nodding in acknowledgment of the speakers words
  • Making good eye contact
  • Listening between the lines
  • Looking like a listener

If you have complete rapport you will naturally match the speaker’s physical movements, tone of voice, vocabulary and breathing patterns. Good listeners are in sensory balance with the speaker.
According to Albert Mehrabian, a noted expert in human behavior, our communication is 55 percent body language, 25 percent inflection and tone and only 20 percent words. Then most of the message is seen and sensed, and the words are far less important than the nonverbal cues and tone of voice.
Think about your personal mannerisms and behaviors. Do you have any of the following habits that would distract or confuse a speaker?

  • Fidgeting
  • Blinking
  • Biting your lip
  • Frowning deeply
  • Playing with your hair, tie or jewelry
  • Looking at your watch
  • Staring

Stop for a moment and think about these behaviors. Would they distract you if you were the one speaking? If your answer is yes, you need to find a way to modify your behavior.

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