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Listen to understand your interlocutor

Communication is often associated with the ability to express oneself or to present an idea to one's interlocutor. We forget that communicating works in both directions and that the ability to listen is a primordial quality for those who have a message to convey. 

Overall, we remember less than half of what we are told. Hence the importance of knowing how to communicate and listen effectively!


Communicating is above all knowing how to listen. Listen and hear. Your relationships with your employees should be serene, constructive and productive and for your leadership to shine.

It will not be enough to let your ears hang around and deliver your messages without asking you more questions than that! And above all without making sure that your employees have all heard and understood this message!

What is active listening?

Active listening consists of listening to the other attentively and in a non-directive manner, building trust, respect, and empathy with his interlocutor so that the last express freely, without fear of hasty judgment and without pressure.

This concept is a powerful lever, useful in many circumstances: 
  • Develop leadership.
  • Positively influence.
  • Inspire.
  • Manage conflicts.

How to actively listen? 

Knowing how to listen to means being able to focus all one's attention on the other to grasp each snippet of the message transmitted, whether verbal or non-verbal

By using the following keys, you will be able to make sure that the communication goes through and show the other that you are totally centered on him and have heard his message:

Create a climate of trust: Focus your attention on your contact. Find their way of communicating and put them at ease by adopting the same mode of communication. 

For example, some people need to schedule an interview and it should be "formal and very framed" inform, others will be more comfortable delivering their messages over a break around coffee or lunch. 

In the same way, certain people called "visual" will use - and will understand - better a vocabulary which relates to sight ("I can see that it is like that ...", whereas a "hearing" would rather say "j 'understand that it is like that ... ", a kinesthetic" I feel that it is like that ... "etc). Some will need to use precise, even learned words while others will prefer a more fluid and common language.

Model your communication mode on that of your interlocutor by using the same type of vocabulary as him in order to put him at ease and establish mutual trust.

Be fully available: relegate a priori and expectations to the closet. 

To be able to fully and authentically listen to the other, you must not have any prejudices about this person (forget that you had this little altercation a few weeks ago, that you hate the way this dress employee, etc.) and do not expect anything from this meeting. 

Indeed, disappointment and frustration that you might feel about your expectations would bias your listening during the interview. You would gradually lose the thread, focusing on your own feelings. 

Put yourself in the shoes of your interlocutor: you must disregard experiences similar to that told by your interlocutor so as not to bias the listening. Inevitably, your vision of things would be distorted: we all react differently depending on our education, our experience, our values, and our own experiences.

Listen beyond words: you must know how to decode the non-verbal. Arms crossed, fleeing gaze, legs moving, ticks, silences, rapid flow.

These are all elements that you must learn to decode in order to feel the state in which your interlocutor is, but also fully understand the message. that it is delivering to you, with all the emotional dimension that accompanies it. 

Rephrase: saying it in your own words makes it possible on the one hand to make sure that you understand what your interlocutor has said and on the other hand to show him that you have heard and understood the message he has given you transmitted. 

Reformulation, an important key to active listening 

Rephrasing means repeating in your own words what you heard from what the other person told you. It is to reiterate more clearly and more concisely what you have learned from the words of the person in front of you. 

The objective is not to obtain more details from your interlocutor, but to verify - and validate - that what you heard is what he said. Sometimes, just by hearing something different - or simply from someone else's mouth, your interlocutor can have a sort of click by suddenly looking at things from another angle, or even becoming fully aware of their way of communicating ( with all that that implies ...). 

Reformulation is a technique widely used by sales representatives in sales interviews. Active listening is also part of all sales training programs. 

Listening actively means knowing how to restrain yourself 

Who has never had this pressing desire to cut off his interlocutor to tell him of a similar experience he would have had? Who has never had an annoying tendency to finish the sentence of his interlocutor in his place? 

Or even stamped his feet praying to the sky for the other to shorten his endless explanations? Or even pretends to listen, punctuating his share of dialogue with "Mmmm", "yes, certainly", etc. ? 

To listen attentively, one must be fully available to the other, temporally, physically and emotionally. 

In reality, very few people are naturally and truly capable of listening. The human is thus made: he likes to share his experiences to show the other that he belongs to the same circle, that he is the leader or that he is trustworthy! Here are some pitfalls to avoid when it comes to active listening: 

Judge, influence: You must stick to the facts and especially not to interpret, nor to direct the discussion while trying to direct your interlocutor towards such or such direction. Whoever speaks to you carries with him the solution to his problem. 

You have to create the right conditions and situations so that he can give birth to his idea/problem by himself and painlessly. 

Likewise, you will not have to pass any judgment, a sine qua non-condition for total confidence. Put yourself in the shoes of your interlocutor and try to perceive the situation, not as YOU see it, but as SHE sees it and feels it. 

Show impatience: React by cutting off the floor to the other or even bounce on an element that he/she relates by telling him a similar experience that you lived, sigh loudly or show some mark of impatience or frustration whatsoever. 

These are all things that will break your confidence and reduce your efforts to nothing when it comes to genuine and caring listening. 

Let yourself be distracted: Make sure you are fully available to your caller (switch off your phone, divert your calls, put your computer on standby, make sure that you are not unexpectedly disturbed, exchange glances with your caller, question it adequately, etc.). You must remain focused so that your listening remains attentive throughout the meeting. 

Remain impassive: The other must feel that you are listening carefully. If you do not show any interest or feeling or emotion, the other will quickly think that you have little interest in what he says and will close. 

By practicing active listening regularly, you will quickly realize that we do not always hear correctly what the other person is telling us. 

Listening attentively can transform and transcend a group! It can help prevent conflicts, spark innovative ideas and reveal countless skills.

Listen to understand your interlocutor Listen to understand your interlocutor Reviewed by communication etiquette on 5:00 PM Rating: 5

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