Here are some techniques you can use to make sure the person you're talking to knows he or she has your full attention:

  • Don't just nod your head-ask pertinent questions that allow the talker to expand on or clarify what he or she is saying.
  • Resist the natural temptation to make your point while the other person is still making theirs. If you're busy thinking about what you're going to say next, you're probably not really listening.
  • If it's appropriate, take notes. This physically demonstrates that you're paying attention.
  • If follow-up attention is required, don't forget to do so in a timely manner.
  • Finally, it may help to think of it this way: Listening is something you do for yourself; hearing is something you do for the other person.