Communication skills are difficult to master. In the business world, clear and effective communication is key to achieving goals, success, learning, as well as establishing great relationships and networking for your South Florida business.

One key aspect for effective communication relies on an important skill- active listening. Active listening requires more than just listening- it requires reading body language, engagement, and patience.

Read the following tips on how you can improve your active listening skills to create a better business environment for yourself and others:

Five Steps to Improve Active Listening

  1. Listen to the content and listen intellectually to facts and ideas.
  2. Listen to the intent and the emotional meaning of the speaker. Use your intuition to “hear” the underlying message(s).
  3. Assess the speaker’s nonverbal communication. Read and interpret body language and other nonverbal skills.
  4. Monitor your nonverbal communication and emotional filters. Be aware of the nonverbal message you are sending, as well as emotional filters that affect your understanding of the receiver.
  5. Listen to the speaker without judgment and with empathy.Try to put yourself in the speaker’s shoes and understand what is shaping his/her feelings. Don’t prejudge the speaker.

Eleven Active Listening for Better Business Techniques

  1. Eliminate external and internal distractions.
  2. Come prepared to meetings so you can actively listen to others.
  3. Take notes in case you begin to daydream.
  4. Do not respond only to what the speaker implies. Respond to the total communication.
  5. Identify words that trigger your anger and control your reaction.
  6. Respond to a speaker with out judgment.
  7. Do not prepare your response while someone is still talking.
  8. Remain open minded.
  9. Understand what your options are ahead of time regarding certain words or ideas that may be expressed.
  10. If you realize you are not listening, try moving forward in your set, or, if standing, towards the speaker.
  11. Do not rely on others to interpret what was said in a meeting.

Once you begin to apply these active listening practices to your business and personal life, you will see an improvement in your understanding of and relationships with people. Take the time to implement these techniques into your daily life. Visit South Florida business broker Bob Dolan’s blog for more great business tips and advice.