Leaders can help themselves and their staffs by practicing the art of active listening. Here are some non-verbal skills to help.

  • Use good eye contact to show you’re engaged and interested in what the other person is saying.
  • Use your posture and hand movements to convey that the most important thing you’re doing is listening to your colleague.
  • Avoid distractions. No phones, no computer, just a notepad to jot down important things.
  • Think about the messages your physical setup sends. Sitting side-by-side sends a message about collaboration. Sitting across a desk sends one about rank. Standing or walking together implies collegiality.
  • Depending on the nature of the conversation and the preferences of the people involved, you may want to set your coaching conversations in an office to avoid interruptions.

Taken from The Language of Coaching, a self-directed course by Poynter's Roy Peter Clark at Poynter NewsU.

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