I know sometimes you really don’t want to pay attention to what someone is saying because this is the fifth time you have heard the story about how Mr. Whiskers just loves to run around the house chasing a laser. You would rather follow Barney Stinson’s Guide to Fake Listening and add in a nod here and there.

But, people can spot a Fake Listener from a mile away. “Without intending to, we discourage people who are speaking. If we aren’t making eye contact, continue to multi-task when someone is speaking… appear to be rushed or bored, people who are speaking to us will feel discouraged and perhaps even minimized,” says Deb Calvert.

However, if you choose to encourage the speaker by asking questions, “we will notice when the tone conveys emotion, rather than hearing the words alone… we will show empathy as our body language and facial expressions mirror the speaker’s.” When a speaker is “being listened to like that it is validating, encouraging and rare,” adds Calvert. It conveys good character, politeness, and respect, which all contribute to a more productive and happy work atmosphere.

Do you have any suggestions for better listening? Leave me a comment and let me know.

Photo Credit – Brainstuck