Are you actively listening to someone or just hearing what they are saying?

Active listening requires effort but shows that you care what someone else says. It shows respect and can lead to better relationships and collaboration.

Here are five easy ways to practice easy listening with a quick checklist that forms the world BUILD.

B: Body language

How you stand and hold yourself sends a message. Are you slouching with your arms folded? Or do you have good posture and are facing the person? Aim for a neutral and welcoming stance.

U: Understanding

While listening, make sure you really understand what’s happening and ask follow-up questions if needed. Don’t just nod along with the conversation and realize later you had no idea what was said.

I: Interrupting

Don’t steamroll the other person’s thoughts or take over the conversation. Wait for them to finish before jumping in.

L: Look them in the eye

In our age of constantly looking at phones and screens, it can be uncomfortable to look people in the eye. But eye contact shows respect and that you are really paying attention. Practice maintaining eye contact to become more comfortable.

D: Don’t judge

Empathy is critical to active listening. Put yourself in the other person’s shoes to see things from their perspective as they are talking. Don’t bring any of your personal judgment to the conversation.

As you talk to other people, run through this checklist to make sure you’re actively listening. These small changes can make a difference in having a productive and engaging conversion.

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