Listens well with a desire to understand
Active listening skills take work. I have written about this in another series. Covey Habits training tells us to listen first to understand, then to be understood. Two aspects of that training call for us to repeat what was said and the restate what was said. Without falling into a pattern that people will soon be annoyed by, you should every so often restate what someone has said. “Are you saying that…” and then rephrase what they said, in your own words or repeating theirs at some level.
This helps to clarify and define what they are saying and also lets them know that you actually heard them. Ask questions that clarify, make statements that re-emphasize.
I have found that writing things down also helps in the listening process. Actively taking notes as someone talks slows me down and let’s me make sure that I have it right. My note taking is often scribbles that only I can decipher because I am writing so fast (and sometimes I can’t even figure it out). These notes help me stay tuned to their words.
Staying connected as a listener will go far in showing respect to the other people in the conversation and it will help you to get the entire idea before you start answering them.
My bad habit is to interrupt. Especially when I am in information gathering mode. I abruptly ask a question that might derail the persons thoughts. I think I am making sure that the message is clear in my head, but some times I just annoy the other person. I need to work on that.