Having high and effective listening skills is key to good communication and understanding of different topics in life. In today’s world, the ability to communicate efficiently and effectively is becoming a very vital skill. The ability to speak effectively is already a high paid skill and one that is among the most sought after. However, effective listening is also attracting the same regard. Listening is as important as speaking. Good listeners help solve many problems, improve relationships, and resolve conflicts.
In workplaces, effective listening leads to fewer errors, improved accuracy, and less wasted time. If you are looking forward to improving your listening skills, here are sure ways to go about it.
The first step to effective listening is facing the speaker and giving them your attention. It can be difficult to make effective communication with someone when you are constantly looking around. Ensure you face the speaker and maintain eye contact to give them your undivided attention. Try your best to ensure the speaker knows you are giving them full attention.
Keep an open mind
Never attempt to judge or criticize what the speaker is telling you. Doing so will utterly compromise your ability to take keenly what they are telling you. Exhibiting any form of judgmental behavior will compromise your effectiveness as a noble listener. However, evaluate what the speaker said after the end of their talking. Avoid any forms of interruption as you will make the speaker miss some vital points they may have intended to speak to you.
By listening actively, you will be showing the speaker you are interested in what they are telling you and you are taking the interaction positively. Active listening skills also show you correctly understand what they are saying. Paraphrase back to the speaker what they said as a way of showing your understanding. Make use of non-verbal cues of communication such as nodding, making eye contact, among others. You can also use verbal affirmations such as ‘I understand’, ‘I know, among others.
Just listen by creating a mental description of model of the information being put across, be it in the form of pictures or images. Listen to the tone of the speaker, their keywords and phrases, and avoid rehearsing what they say. Remember the 90 percent of communication happens through nonverbal form, so be sure to observe their body language. Focus on what the other person is saying rather than what you will be responding back. Be attentive and show relaxation and don’t get distracted by your own feelings and thoughts.
Effective listening is a skill that doesn’t get as much accolade as it needs to get in our society. Good communication happens as a result of both effective listening and speaking. To enhance your effectiveness in communication, always maintain eye contact by facing the speaker to give them your attention. While listening, avoid being judgmental. Additionally, avoid interrupting the speaker and employ active listening techniques. Be genuine to initiate conversations that you would be willing to be part of.