It can be a challenge to really hear what people are saying.

Two small tips that make a big difference are: “Don’t assume”, and “let it flow”.

Since much of the English language is ambiguous, the same words can mean very different things. One person saying they are not that keen on an idea might mean they think it’s okay, it just needs some work. For someone else, they might absolutely hate it.

If you are ever in any doubt, take time to check and clarify rather than just assuming. It shows you are interested and will make sure you don’t miss the mark.

We also need to allow people the space to tell their stories in their own way. So, avoid hogging the conversation and asking lots of tough questions. Instead, encourage others to continue talking by using short statements or movements. For instance, a simple nod can show you are interested.

Next time you’re listening to someone, why not see if you can encourage them to tell you even more?

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