Are you all ears?hearingsmalll

This skill is a factor in your successful career and satisfying home life

You’ve probably been tested several times in your life, so you know your hearing is up to par and maybe beyond. But how you use that sense is key to “active listening.”

It starts with the desire to help another person think through their statements and feelings. Your unspoken message should be, “You have my attention; I’m here for you,” but you also need to signal this verbally if you want to retain more than 10 percent person of what is said.

Use open-ended questions like, “How did that make you feel?” And “What are going to do now.”

Graham Bodie, lead researcher in a study published in the Western Journal of Communication, tells the effect of the immediate behaviors that make up active listening. The skill takes some time to develop.

The study used 342 pairs of people, says The Wall Street Journal. One person, the discloser, describes a stressful event, such as a relationship problem, a work setback or a health issue.

The disclosers said that when the listener displayed active skills like making eye contact and asking open-ended questions, the talker felt better. Verbal behaviors were three times as likely as nonverbal behaviors to produce this outcome. The talker perceived the listener as more emotionally aware and felt better.

Bodie also gives this advice:

Use short words or sounds to encourage the talker to continue. Responses like “yup, OK, right,” or “mmm hmm” will work. Paraphrase a person’s remarks to clarify statements.

When you know a co-worker or spouse wants to talk, get ready to listen. Be calm and in the present. Put your cell phone away and let go of your own need to talk, except to encourage the other person to finish.