How to Impress by Listening Well

Listening is a key interview skill. The interviewer is a human being, and you will stack the cards in your favour if you can build a personal connection with her, or him.

The key to this is practicing your listening skills.

Here are some key pointers:

  • Treat the interviewer as a conversation partner, not an interrogator.
  • People derive a strong sense of validation and value from being understood. Listen for understanding: hear not only the words, but also what else you can pick up. What is the person thinking or feeling? What’s the real meaning behind what they are telling, or asking you?
  • To get to the thinking or feeling behind the words, listen with an open and relaxed mind. It’s better to do that than to assume you know what your conversation partner saying or asking.
  • To listen with an open and relaxed mind, be “in the moment”, leaving aside worrying about the past or the future. Notice your body language and the other person’s. Notice your own emotions and acknowledge them. It’s better to do that than to fight them.
  • Follow the other person’s interest by asking questions. Ask them what’s on their mind. Play back what they have just said or asked using their words. Mirror their body language. Match their energy. Use your body language to react to what they are saying (nodding, smiling).
  • Create space in the conversation for an equal exchange. Don’t hog the airtime.

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