Listening Step 3: Body Language

Listening Step 3: Body Language

Most people think that listening just has to do with your ears, but there are many other body parts involved in listening. You need to know what to do with your arms, your eyes, and your face. All of these body parts reflect if you are actively listening to people.

Your arms. I am sure you have heard it said that some people talk with their hands. Well it should also be said that we listen with our arms. Our arms send a message to others about how open we are to what they are saying. When our arms are crossed in front of us, we appear to be closed off to others. If our arms are at our side or sitting in our lap, we communicate that we are open to receive and hear what others are saying. (Bonus tip: lean into the people who you are talking to… don’t lean back!)

Your eyes. It might sound like a simple fact that we should look at people we are talking with, look them in the eye. That means that we should not have things, such as phones or devices, in between us. To give someone your full attention you need to look at them. But, don’t stare for too long as that often becomes intimidating!

Your face. This is the most important piece of them all. The basic rule for our face is that it needs to be a mirror. Our face should reflect the same emotion that the person we are listening to is displaying. If they are talking about something upsetting, our face should not be smiling and happy. We must follow their emotion with our face so they know we are paying attention to them.

So next time you are working to listen, to actively listen to someone, check your body.

Where are your arms?

Prevent your eyes from wandering away.

Be a mirror.

Your friends and family will thank you for being attentive to them!