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When you give others your complete focused attention, you are on your way to building rapport and making that person feel great.

If you have read any of the featured articles inside Body Language University, then you know about body language techniques such as: eye contact, personal space, mirroring and more. Learning to be a good listener is another factor in building rapport and building great relationships with co-workers, clients and colleagues.

Attentive listening skills are a part of successful body language

We have all heard the phrase, "You have two ears and only one mouth for a reason - you should listen twice as much as you talk". The fact is, being a focused listener and giving the person speaking your full attention is difficult for some people. Many people make the very crucial mistake of thinking about what they are going to say next instead of really listening to what it is someone is saying. Do not let your mind wander and do not show that you are being distracted by other things. Try to maintain eye contact at least 70% of the time, look at them in the face, nod when appropriate and react to what they are saying. In other words, be in the moment.

Make it all about the other person

Whether you are meeting someone for the first time or trying to build rapport, focus entirely on the other person. Do not try to bring the conversation back to you. Show interest in what they are saying and ask insightful questions. Try to show interest with your body language. Lean in to listen, tilt your head and remember to smile. As mentioned earlier, maintaining eye contact is way of showing that you are attentively listening.

In some cultures, direct eye contact can be perceived as rude or threatening, but in the USA, eye contact is perceived as being attentive, competent and powerful. Be careful not to stare down the other person. Constant direct staring can be intimidating and this sort of body language can be perceived as you trying to stare the other person down which will destroy any chance of you building rapport. 

It's easy to practice listening

You have several opportunities to practice listening during your daily activities. I suggest you practice. Did you know that the inability to maintain eye contact is taken as a sign of disrespect and although maintaining eye contact can a times feel uncomfortable or unnatural, it is an essential ingredient in building rapport with others.

The Right Way to be a Fantastic Listener


Tonya Reiman




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