Keep your communications clear by considering your body language and how you can actively listen
Paying attention to a conversation makes people feel heard and can open the door to more meaningful interactions, showing the person you’re engaging with that you’re receptive to what they’re saying.
There are certain behaviors that you will likely naturally adopt, but when we become aware of the cues of active listening, we can make a conscious effort to instill them into our communications.
1. Face the person speaking.
By turning to your interlocutor, you clearly show that he has your full attention. It could also signify a willingness to be vulnerable, as we present our chest (and in turn our heart), which could be seen as a symbolic gesture of openness.
2. Get closer.
Yes, we are speaking literally. Your physical proximity to each other in conversation, and especially leaning forward, shows your interest and engagement in the discussion. Leaning back could signal that you are pulling away from the cat, so try to proactively lean where you can.
3. Erase the space between you.
In a practical sense, make sure there are no objects obscuring your view of the other, and in a metaphorical way, keep your arms relaxed and at your side when possible – arms crossed can signify a lack of interest in conversation or a reluctance to open up. So try to be aware of how your body is positioned to demonstrate your voluntary participation.
4. Give encouragement.
This can take the form of nodding your head to show that you are listening and considering what they are saying, or using facial expressions to react without interrupting them, or small remarks such as “yes” and ” OK” who won don’t disrupt their flow, but give them confidence that what they say is heard and acted upon.
5. Maintain eye contact.
It has been reported that keeping your eyes focused on each other for 60-70% of the time someone is talking helps provide the best balance for a good relationship. So the next time you’re chatting, keep your eyes closed and be present.