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Practice active listening to build stronger business relationships

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Active listening can help small business owners and entrepreneurs connect with customers to gain more sales and strengthen relationships with colleagues.

Life coach Bibi Caspari of Atwater Village shared her studies with members of the Los Feliz Business Networking Professionals (Los Feliz BNP), a business networking association.

Active listening means the listener feeds back what is heard to the speaker. The listener re-states or paraphrases what has just been said. This confirms what they have just heard and builds understanding with both parties.

“Make eye contact when sharing,” says Bibi, “and use a few key phrases like ‘what I hear you saying is …’ or ‘Do you mean that …’ and ‘If I understand you correctly …’ are all ways to begin your feedback to the person speaking.”

Bibi says a benefit of using active listening is a greater sense of empathizing, caring about, and understanding the other person. “When we sense someone is really listening to us, we are more likely to feel that the person really cares about us and genuinely wants to understand us.”

Using more words in a conversation does not guarantee the other person will understand or respond to what is said. Bibi reports that words are only 7 percent of a message. “How we use our voices is 38 percent of the impact and the visual impression we make creates 55 percent of the impact.”

Bibi Caspari's website has various tips to apply in various phases of a person's life.

Practice active listening and show others how to use the technique to build rapport and a more pleasant business environment.

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