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I can’t talk enough about how important it is to be a good listener if you want to succeed in your job hunt. Earlier this week, I shared tips to help improve your listing skills. Today, some additional thoughts and advice!

I have written about how to stand out in a sea of sameness.  Instead of focusing on YOU – what you want, what you offer – start listening. Ask questions. Be the candidate who connects on an emotional level with your audience. There’s nothing that people like better than someone who seems interested in THEM – it’s human nature. Be the one who listens first and answers based on what you learn. You may be surprised by how well this technique works!

Being an active listener is just that – a process that involves your participation. On the surface, listening is something you do without thinking. In reality, to be a good listener, you need to work at it.

, who writes for the Guide offered these tips to help become an active listener.

  1. Listen for verbal clues.
  2. Watch for nonverbal clues. “ Eyebrows, hands, pauses, eyes” – these note when a person makes an important point.
  3. Be mindful of your own reactions. Nod or smile, but try to avoid physically reacting to a negative comment. Fleming notes,  “As long as you’re managing your reactions, you’re still listening.”
  4. Avoid making predictions. Don’t assume what the person will say next, as it usually means you will stop listening.
  5. Focus on the words, not the person. Don’t focus on what the person wears or ugly hairstyle!
  6. Don’t get caught up on one detail. It is easy to get distracted, but you don’t want to miss the next important point.
  7. Don’t let your mind wander. Your “to do” list can wait. Push non-related thoughts from your mind to focus on the conversation.

Don’t miss the rest of my series about the five networking fundamentals to help you land a job. Review the pieces about the keys to researching your networking targets, how to ask good questions and six ways to improve your listening skills.

Once you have a chance to think about updating your skills, take  this quiz to evaluate your general listening skills.

Please share your ideas and comments about good listening in the comments!

photo by vickisnature

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  • Excellent tips, Miriam. Each one is a nuanced variation of listening that I must remind myself of from time to time. In this multi-tasking, distraction-filled world it’s difficult sometimes to give ourselves permission to really listen to one another, one-on-one.

    I especially like #4 and #7: How often have we all tried to connect the dots before the person speaking has finished sharing their idea or making their point, thus missing their intention? And mind-wandering, well, that is a challenge that we struggle with based on so much concurrently happening in our lives, at all times. But with ‘focus’ and effort, I believe we can stop the distractions to facilitate true listening!