Can you hear me now? We often hear this question during our Zoom calls. Whether you are speaking to friends or family or colleagues or future employers, the ability to create meaningful conversations takes practice.

When you take the time to LISTEN and be HEARD you can have effective conversations. Follow these steps to REALLY HEAR what people are saying.

Step #1 Focus

Don’t try to multitask when you are having a conversation. Texts, emails, and social media are commonplace distractions and make it increasingly challenging to have meaningful conversations. Whether you are having a conversation in person or on the phone or on Zoom, give your conversation partner some focused time. You will make them feel important and you may learn something that will make a difference in the outcome of the conversation.

Step #2 Be an Active Listener

Contrary to popular belief, listening is not a passive activity. Active, effective listening takes practice. It includes body language, eye contact, and the ability to demonstrate an interest in the other person.

Step #3 Ask Good Questions

To have a meaningful conversation, both parties need to be engaged. If you ask a few relevant questions it will show you are interested and help to clarify what is being said. Then follow-up -> see step #4.

Step #4 Follow-up

Add a follow-up date to your calendar to remember when to connect again. Immediately act on any future action steps you have agreed to. Be the person who initiates future calls. Record takeaways from the conversation to save time in the future and to help you remember important information. 

Step #5 Consider Your Communication Style

Everyone has a preferred style of communicating. Be mindful about how the listener will receive your words and try to modify your conversation to maximize the impact. If you consider the perspective of the listener, you will have more effective conversations and get more satisfactory results.