Active listening is an important skill for all forms of communication. It demonstrates to the speaker that you are paying attention. However, nodding your head while someone is talking is not a form of active listening. Miscommunication happens all the time and can occur unknowingly. Active listening involves a series of actions the listener takes when the speaker is speaking that help prevent miscommunication. A great insurance agent is one that can listen to their client and truly understand their needs.
Different Ways to Practice Active Listening
- No phones
- Be patient
- Deepen the conversation
To be able to properly listen when someone is talking, you need to cut out distractions. Even if you’re good at multitasking, turning your phone off is an action that shows the other person that you are choosing to give them your full attention.
Sometimes it can be difficult to stay quiet during a conversation. It’s normal to want to add to the conversation by making a point and not waiting for your chance to speak. Waiting for the proper opportunity to talk allows the other speaker to fully finish their point. It isn’t good to assume what someone is going to say before they finish talking.
Engage in the conversation. Conversations with a client involve more than naming a problem and finding a solution. Ask your client for details about the situation they are describing. Having more details not only will allow you to better understand their situation, but also will show the client that you care about their concerns and want to learn more.
After working with a lot of different clients, it can be easy to assume that one client’s situation is the same as others you have encountered previously. Remember to treat each client with a high level of attention and listen to their individual concerns. Repeat back what you heard to the client so that they can confirm that you understood the conversation fully. Clients will respect the level of attention you provide them when you choose to use active listening. These skills are valuable even outside of the client/agent relationship. How do you currently use active listening? Let us know in the comments below.