Can you hear me now? Perhaps it’s better to ask if you’re listening now.

Learn to “listen up!” if you want to establish rapport and build trust with those on your ministry teams. Open up the lines of communication by using these five techniques to improve your listening skills.

Look and listen – Pay attention to both actual words and nonverbal clues, such as body language, tone of voice, and inflection.

Project interest – Sincere acknowledgment, even a nod of the head or an encouraging “uh-huh,” can reassure the other person you’re following what’s being said.

Invite expansion – Don’t jump in with a response at the first opportunity. When there’s a pause, prompt your teammate to continue with what he or she was saying.

Clarify information – Ask for specific details or examples to help fill in missing information.

Summarize – Repeat in your own words the main points of the conversation. Confirm whether you have understood accurately.

Creating healthy team communication requires good listening. Practice these skills with your team to promote fearless conversations. Can you hear me now?