1) Act like a good listener. Don’t let your body image betray you. We’re constantly bombarded with information, so it’s almost instinctive to tune it out. When you’re interacting with someone, you need to consciously change your body language to reflect that you want to receive information; otherwise, it may appear you’re trying to get away from it. Remember, your face says it all.
2) Ask effective questions. When you’re communicating, remember: garbage in, garbage out. If you ask the wrong questions, you’ll get the wrong answers–or at least different answers from the ones you were hoping. Think about what you’re hoping to learn, and, remember, an open-ended question is almost always more effective than one that elicits a simple yes or no answer.
3) Play dumb. Socrates used this technique more than 2,300 years ago by feigning ignorance in order to encourage others to express their views fully. Today, many of the world’s most successful businesspeople do the same.
4) Know your audience. Whether you’re dealing with a colleague, boss, client or recent acquaintance, it pays to do a little research. Once you know what a person wants, is interested in and responds to, you’ll be better equipped to deliver just that.