Do you consider yourself a good listener?
Listening is a vital skill to be a successful recruiter. That’s not to say it’s always easy... we are human after all. It takes focus and energy to really listen to someone, to not let the mind momentarily wander to your next deadline, or the email that pinged into your inbox just before you left your desk.
While there are conflicting studies on the length of the average human attention span in the era of the internet and smartphones, what’s not contentious is the value that active listening brings. Not just for recruiters but also for those of us wanting to develop our leadership skills or simply wanting stronger connections with the people we are close to.
A few tips to practice in order to become a better listener include:
Remove any possible distractions so that you can be truly present.
Commit to giving that person your full attention for the allotted period of time.
Keep your mouth closed as much as possible, do not interrupt and resist turning the conversation to yourself.
Observe body language and other non-verbal cues, these can tell us so much if we take the time to notice.
Acknowledge what the other person is saying, give confidence you understand them, and if you don’t, say so, don’t just nod and smile and pretend to.
Active listening doesn’t need to be a chore if you approach it with the right mindset. Acknowledge that you have an opportunity to learn from the other person and recognise the benefit of making meaningful connections with people.
A great TED Talk on this topic is '10 ways to have a better conversation' by Celeste Headlee. Her comment “Go out, talk to people, listen to people and, most importantly, be prepared to be amazed" truly resonated with me. Watch the video here.