We have all had those frustrating experiences when you know someone isn’t truly listening to what you are saying. You can usually tell because they cut you off before you finish the sentence, they are distracted by something else or you can see their eyes glaze over while you talk.
Those situations usually result in a misunderstanding of what was being communicated, issues taking longer to be resolved than they should, or my personal pet peeve, having to repeat yourself. This isn’t a brand new issue, but certainly worthy of discussion.
In PR or any situation, it is important to listen to understand for successful communication -- also known as active listening.
When you are active listening, you are listening to understand what is being said through messages, body language, asking questions when appropriate to better understand, and providing feedback when needed.
If you are trying to understand the needs and wants of a client, they want to be fully heard as much as you want to fully understand what they are trying to say. It’s a win-win on both sides!
Here are a few tips I learned from a professor in college to practice active listening. (Secretly, I think they were tired of us pretending to listen to their lectures.)