In IT, being an active listener is extremely important. You need to be able to listen to your client or manager explain a network or technical problem that they need addressed so you can get to the bottom of it and come up with a solution. How do you become a better listener to improve your IT career? Here are some tips to help you be a better listener.
Remove Barriers to Active Listening
One of the biggest barriers to active listening is the desire to be heard. Focus first on understanding what the other person is saying and then focus on communicating your side of the conversation. You also want to eliminate distractions, such as your phone, when having a conversation. You need the speaker to have your full attention. This also shows the speaker that you care about what they are saying.
The practice of meditation is also the practice of letting go. Most people have many different thoughts going on inside their head at any given time. Meditation helps us to be more present during conversations. To be a great listener you have to pay close attention to the speaker and listen without judgment. Meditation improves observational skills and allows you to listen with improved objectivity.
When speaking, people want to feel like their audience is invested in what they are saying. Show them you are enthusiastic and curious about the conversation by asking follow-up questions. Wait for the speaker to pause before you ask them questions. You will demonstrate to them that you have heard what they have said, but also that you are trying to understand exactly what they mean. This also helps them let their guard down. You want the speaker to feel like they have a safe space to share their thoughts and feelings without judgment.
Empathize with the Speaker
If you are talking to a customer and they seem excited, your facial expressions should show them you are excited, too. If they seem frustrated about a problem they are having, show that you understand how frustrating the situation is for them. Every speaker wants to have their emotions validated, so empathy is the cornerstone of a successful conversation.
When working in IT, effective listening skills make a real difference when engaging with clients, co-workers, and managers. Meditation can help you become a better active listener. Practicing your ability to concentrate, ask thoughtful follow-up questions, and empathize also helps.
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