I’m currently studying to work in the real estate industry and we had a whole module of learning based around communication. The big criterion was that you be an active listener – pay attention! Show that you’re listening by maintaining eye contact, nodding, summarizing what they just said (“so what you’re saying is that you want something close to the city”) and asking clarifying questions.
All of this shows the person you’re talking to that you are interested, paying attention and that you want to hear more. Another thing to be aware of is your body language – apparently 70% of what we convey is in our body language, not what we say. So if you’ve got your arms crossed, your legs crossed, your teeth clenched and your eyes are wandering off into the distance, you’re not exactly coming across as engaged and interested (more like irritated and bored). The course also recommended practice sessions. Sit down with a family member or friend, and ask them to talk to you (could be about work, a hobby, anything) whilst you practice active listening. Afterwards, ask them for feedback.