Active listening helps you build a great rapport with the other person. With time you can master this social skills.
Here are a few quick tips to active listening:
- Remove all sorts of possible distractions like noise, people and gadgets like smartphones. If you both feel comfortable, choose a quieter location to converse.
- Do not be prejudiced by the person’s cultural or social background, caste, race, gender or past experiences. Be non-judgemental, open-minded and accepting of the other person’s beliefs and value system. Do not allow your past experiences or belief system to influence your judgement of the other person.
- Listen between words. Pay attention to the subtext of the conversation. Read their body language.
- Slightly lean forward and maintain eye contacts when the other person is speaking.
- Remember to have an open body language, avoid defensive body languages like crossed arms and legs and backward leaning.
- Paraphrase in your own words what the other person spoke, to express how you interpreted his/her words. This will make the other person see your effort in trying to foster understanding.
- Empathise. Try to put yourself in the other person’s shoes. Slightly nod your head in agreement if you do. Show that you care and are here to lend an ear.
10. Make sure you involve everyone in group situations
In a group situation, make sure you engage everyone involved by paying equal attention to each member of the group.
You can do so by looking at each one of them in turn while you are speaking rather than focusing on only one person who piques your interest.
Let each one of them have a say. If someone keeps getting interrupted by others while he/she wanted to say something, assist them to join in, “Jen, please continue with what you were saying.” Take the responsibility to make everyone feel included.
11. Amp up your observational skills
Your observational skills will come into play when you want to approach someone new to strike a conversation. It also comes handy in case you wish to know someone at a deeper level.
Thoroughly observe the other person’s body language, his or her postures, mannerisms, attire, their way of expression and any other significant things which you can use as possible topics of conversation to open doors to further exploration of a possible connectivity.
If you observe the other person minutely enough, it will make him/her feel seen. Be mindful during the conversation. Make use of information they provided to you in the initiation of the conversation, if you want to gain more knowledge about the person. “You mentioned earlier that you are from California. How was it being there?”
They will provide you the clue to forward a conversation. You just have to be attentive enough.
12. Flip the small talk out of the door
Let’s not deny the fact that you can’t really jump straight into the deeper side of the social game without a little small talks in the beginning. When you notice a mutual desire to know each other more, you can skip the small talk part. Small talk helps in warming up and constitutes the shallow phase of communication. For making a lasting bond, you have to get a little personal, a bit vulnerable and lot more inquisitive. Your vulnerabilities make you seem more human to others – a part of you, they will be able to relate to.
Do not hold on to your emotions. Display subtle emotions where necessary, disclose some of your personal information so the other person feels comfortable enough to disclose theirs. The key is to create a well-balanced, accepting environment for a great rapport to build.
If you seem robotic, you will never be able to connect at an intimate level.
Asking questions lies at the heart of every great social interactions. Ask the other person non-invasive, insightful, open-ended questions. These questions will help you dive into the psyche of the other person, to understand their values, ideals and belief system. It will further help you to decide whether you both are sparking off well or not.