How to improve your Listening
Today in this hi-tech world communication skills matter a lot. Yet we seem to have lost our quality of listening. Genuine listening is a rare gift. Listening helps you to make relationships, solve problems, improves accuracy, improve knowledge and has such more benefits. At schools listening means improving your knowledge and at the office it means improving your skills. Here are some few ways to improve your listening skills
Make an eye contact
An eye contact is considered as a basic key ingredient in effective communication. Eye contact shows confidence, curiosity and it signals that you are interested in the talk. Many times lack of eye contact means that speaker is lying. Look at the speaker even if he doesn’t want to look at you. Shyness, uncertainty, shame, guilt, or other emotions, along with cultural taboos, can inhibit eye contact in some people under some circumstances.
Now when you have maintained an eye contact, just relax, don’t stare. Now you can look at other places and relax but being attentive. Its like you have to be continuing “attending” the person. Being attentive means
- be present
- give attention
- apply or direct yourself
- pay attention
- remain ready to serve
Keep an open mind.
Listen while not judging the other person. If you start to judge then you would not be able to maintain a proper listening. As soon as you start to be judgmental you will compromise your listening skills.
Don’t jump to conclusions without listening completely, until then you don’t know what those thoughts are all about by the speaker’s point of view.
Listen to the words and try to understand and make prediction.
Just make a mental model of the information being communicated. When it’s your turn to listen, don’t spend the time planning what to say next. You can’t do both at the same time. Grab only what the speaker is saying. Finally, concentrate on what is being said, even if it bores you. If your thoughts start to wander, immediately force yourself to refocus.
Don’t interrupt and impose your thoughts.
It’s rude to interrupt. Well, majority of talk shows and reality programs, where loud, aggressive, in-your-face behavior is condoned, if not encouraged so, the “being rude” concept is not followed.
- “I’m more important than you are.”
- “What I have to say is more interesting, accurate or relevant.”
- “I don’t really care what you think.”
- “I don’t have time for your opinion.”
- “This isn’t a conversation, it’s a contest, and I’m going to win.”
We all think and understand at a different rate, speaker finds hard to express himself if we try to impress him with our “this” skill.
If we are listening we should more talk about the problem rather than solution as nobody wants to hear the solutions, everyone figures out solutions and everyone knows them.
Wait for the speaker to take break and as questions
Wait for the questions like any questions? But when you don’t understand things being said you can ask the speaker to explain it to you. You can say something like Excuse me? Or I don’t understand the things you just said.
Ask questions only to ensure understanding.
Ask questions to ensure speaker that you are listening and you are interested in doing that. For example if someone is talking to you about a person for long you can ask about that person like, “I haven’t heard about the (person)( for long, how’s he?” and at the end you can say, “it’s nice to hear about the (person) let’s get back to what you were saying”.
Try to feel what the speaker is feeling.
If the speaker is sad, try to get the feeling, if he is in joy try to get his joy. That’s a really good point of efficient listening skills and the speaker will feel really positive. Empathy is the heart and soul of good listening. To do that you just have to put yourself at the person’s place and imagine or experience.
Give the speaker regular feedback.
Regular feedback includes, nodding, asking questions, expressions in accordance to what being said, relevant reply, etc. one must focus on this point more. If the speaker’s feeling or expression is not understandable just express by simply nodding or by hmm.