Tuesday, 25 July 2017

What is active listening and how can you master it?



Active listening is a cornerstone of effective interpersonal communication. It’s therefore an essential skill for tax professionals.

Active listening involves both hearing what your client or colleague is saying and letting them know that you hear what they’re saying.

It helps you to build rapport with your clients and colleagues. It demonstrates your respect for them. It also helps you to earn their trust.

They’ll know that any opinions or recommendations you subsequently suggest will be based on a deep understanding of their specific needs.

Here are a few active listening techniques that you can apply in any professional conversation.


Suspend judgment


Before you begin listening to someone, try to ensure that you approach the conversation with an open mind.

It helps to let go of any negative, pre-conceived notions you may have about what the other person may be about to say, or even about their personality.

If you decide, beforehand, that the person may be ignorant, misguided or obstinate, this hypothesis is likely to affect your ability to hear or understand the information they give you.


Become comfortable with silence


It’s OK to give the other person time to think about what they wish to say in response to your initial question or statement.

The more time they have to think and reflect, the more likely they’ll be able to articulate their ideas in a clear, comprehensive manner.

So don’t be too quick to interrupt their thinking process just because you may be slightly unnerved by an extended break in the conversation.


Give verbal feedback


When the other person begins to speak, your verbal response should simply be in the form of encouraging remarks that reassure them that you hear and understand what they’re saying.

Remember, giving appropriate verbal feedback is the opposite of interrupting.

Simple words or phrases like ‘Yes’, ‘I see’ and ‘What happened then?’ can encourage the other person to continue speaking and to elaborate on a topic.

You might repeat back – in their words or your paraphrasing of their words – some of their key statements. This demonstrates that you’re keenly interested in the information they’re giving you, and that you understand it.

After they’ve spoken for an extended period, you can also summarise their message in your own words. Again, this confirms your understanding and gives them an opportunity to fill gaps in their communication or to correct errors in your comprehension.


Ask questions


Whenever the other person appears reticent or reluctant to speak in detail, it’s useful to prompt them with relevant questions.

This will reassure them that you’re paying attention and are interested in what they have to say.

Try to ensure, however, that your questions are open-ended and encourage the other person to elaborate. Closed questions, that prompt no more than a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer, will slow the conversation down.


Take notes


Taking notes as the other person speaks is a good way of maintaining your focus on the subject matter at hand. It demonstrates to the other person that you value the information they are giving you. It will also help you remember the information at a later date.

Be careful, however, that your note-taking doesn’t make you appear disengaged from the conversation. It’s useful to look up regularly and to re-establish eye contact.


Be aware of non-verbal communication


If you’re speaking with someone in person, rather than on the telephone, your body language will contribute significantly to the effectiveness of your interaction.

For example, by maintaining eye contact (without staring), you continually reassure the other person that they have your attention.

Likewise, your gestures (including nodding and smiling) can silently encourage the person to open up, continue speaking or elaborate.

At the same time, your awareness of the other person’s non-verbal communication can help you ascertain their underlying attitude and feelings.


Practice makes perfect


Active listening is an ability you can develop and master with practice. And you don’t need to restrict active listening to client interactions. In fact, you can use the techniques described above in almost every conversation – professional and personal.

Good listeners are generally well-liked, and you may find that the benefits of active listening extend to many areas of your life and help you to build stronger relationships of all kinds.


Student Membership
Give yourself the edge with free student membership

If you're a tertiary education student, The Tax Institute can help you progress in your career.



Find out about Student Membership.

18 comments:

  1. thanks Michele! I’ve noticed the same thing… so many short cuts encouraged and not enuf honesty and integrity. *sigh*
    Olympus
    We Heart It
    Loveawake
    Dealing With a Clingy Ex
    Moslitski

    ReplyDelete
  2. In an era where Best Essay Writing Service in USA are thriving, it has become increasingly difficult for students to identify with a reliable company that offers Top Essay Writing Services and Legit Top Essay Writing.

    ReplyDelete
  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  4. This is where you make a conscious effort to hear not only the words that another person is saying but, more importantly, the complete message being communicated. In order to do this you must pay attention to the other person very carefully. Nursing Assignment Writing Service

    ReplyDelete
  5. It is important to seek statistics coursework writing services and statistics essay writing services since students find help when they visit Business Statistics Writing Services.

    ReplyDelete
  6. vision direct coupon code to get alot of discount in the products available at the lavishlog

    ReplyDelete
  7. An active listener can make the other person feel comfortable around them. Many people find it difficult to communicate, hence if the person in front is an active listener, he can make them comfortable in many ways! Whether you provide proposal writing services or verbal communication services, all you need to know are your words and the way to communicate them!

    ReplyDelete
  8. When your college workload is piling up and your deadlines are falling behind, it's time to give in and pay to write research paper or pay for a term …

    ReplyDelete
  9. I’m not that much of a online reader to be honest but your blogs really nice, keep it up! I'll go ahead and bookmark your site to come back later on. pest control services

    ReplyDelete
  10. Hi! This post couldn't be written any better! Reading this post reminds me of my good old room mate! He always kept chatting about this. I will forward this page to him. Fairly certain he will have a good read. Thank you for sharing! clutch kit

    ReplyDelete
  11. Thanks For sharing this Superb article.I use this Article to show my assignment in college.it is useful For me Great Work.
    SEO Agency

    ReplyDelete
  12. Love what you're doing here guys, keep it up!..
    affordable seo agency

    ReplyDelete
  13. Locanto has several categories that can help you discover precisely what you're in search of, similar to casual relationship, and virtual adventures. The better Craigslist Personals section part is, Locanto is free which makes it simple for customers to post as often as they want to. Unlike Craigslist, you do want an account to get started on Doublelist.

    ReplyDelete
  14. It is extremely helpful and interesting and very much looking forward to reading more of your work. Visit: chinese b2b marketplace

    ReplyDelete
  15. Cheap Essay Writing Help Online
    Listening actively is the capacity to show the speaker you're hearing. You encourage the speaker to talk freely and openly when you listen attentively, because you don't judge them. And when you exhibit empathy rather than judgement, empathy or emphatic listening is also called.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Thank you so much admin for uploading such amazing content with us your blog is really helpful for me. wish you all the best for upcoming comments. I am also wanted to write blog kindly guide me if my topic is concrete leveling machine then what should I do first and how will I create new and unique content on this topic

    ReplyDelete