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Listening is a key to basic communication and essential for complaint handling.

Most of us don't listen very well unless we consciously work at it. It is not a passive activity and requires concentration.

You can actively listen by deliberately focusing on what your staff are feeling and saying.

Put into words the feelings underlying their statements or comments, like anger, disappointment or hurt, and offer your own reaction to their words or behaviour.

When you are listening to your staff:

  • be non-judgemental
  • face them and lean forward a little towards them
  • maintain an open relaxed position
  • avoid distracting gestures and nod to show you are listening
  • use eye contact but be conscious of cultural differences in this regard
  • give feedback and make encouraging remarks now and then
  • allow silences
  • give them time to collect their thoughts
  • don't put words in their mouth
  • be aware of their body language - non-verbal behaviour such as facial expressions, posture, and gestures give clues to what they are feeling.

Show you understand them by summarising or re-stating in your own words what they are telling you.

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