How Active Listening Can Transform Your Networking Impact
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There are many different elements in successful networking. One of the most useful but surprisingly not used to its full potential is active listening. In this article, we will tell you about active listening and how it can help you build win-win relationships to find new clients and grow your network.
7 Ways to Increase Your Networking Communication Skills
What is Active Listening?
Active listening is how we obtain information by paying close attention to our conversation partner. There are many benefits to active listening. They include the ability to gain knowledge, build relationships, and resolve conflict.
Research shows that we only retain 25% to 50% of what the other person says. That means your customers will not remember the majority of what you have said. You must also make sure that you don’t become bored with the conversation and lose interest. When you incorporate this active listening technique into your networking, you will see how listening more closely will cultivate your network growth.
How to Transform Active Listening into Your Networking Strategy and Become a Better Listener
To become an active listener, you must block out all distractions around you. You will have to pay close attention to the details the other person is speaking about. Then you will need to take a brief pause and respond in a relevant way. Remember that listening is not exactly the same as agreeing with someone. The other person will notice that you are a good listener and, in turn, will respect your views because you took the time to listen to theirs.
Practices of Active Listening
To be valuable to your network and create strategic partnerships, you must incorporate active listening into your networking strategy. Below are some of the best practices of active listening:
Body Language: Try to stay relaxed while in conversation. Avoid standoffish gestures like folded arms. Also make sure to keep consistent eye contact so your conversation partner knows you are paying attention.
Responding: When your conversation partner stops speaking, they will expect some response. Even if you can’t think of anything relevant right away, acknowledge that you heard them by responding, “I didn’t know that” or “that is an interesting take.” Even if you do not agree with your networking partner, don’t be afraid to express it appropriately.
Feedback: Avoid any assumptions you may have when giving feedback. Do not let your own views distort what you hear. To assure the other person that you are listening, ask them a question to clarify the point they just tried to make. Then, try to give your networking partner neutral feedback that is not based on any personal bias you have.
You can significantly optimize your networking impact when you practice active listening. At your next networking event, be sure to use some of these tips to master the art of active listening.