How often do you work on your listening skills? Many people think they are listening to the speaker but in actuality, they’re not. If you really want to make the listening experience effective, there are some actions you can take.
4 Ways To Improve Your Listening Skills
Be attentive – When listening to a speaker, whether it’s a speaker speaking to a conference room of people or someone you’re having a conversation with on social media, it’s important to be attentive. Attentive listening means to be present and not to drift off or day dream. It also means to tune out distractions like background noise.
If the speaker has an accent, don’t let it take your attention away from WHAT’s being said because you’re focused on HOW it’s being said. Make sure that your own personal feelings and biases are not in the equation – at all.
Keep An Open Mind – You have to be able to listen to someone without judging them or secretly criticizing what’s being said. If what was said angers you or causes you some kind of emotion, it’s perfectly fine to feel that emotion. But once you form your mouth to say something negative about what was said, you have compromised your ability to be an effective listener.
Avoid jumping to conclusions. Allow the speaker to finish what he is saying before you contribute to the conversation because if you don’t have all the facts, you really can’t make any judgements about what’s being said.
When speaking to someone one-on-one, avoid being a sentence grabber. A sentence grabber is someone who’s mental pace is moving so quickly that he tries to hurry the speaker’s rate of speaking by interrupting and finishing his sentences.
More Ways to Improve Your Listening Skills
Ask Questions After The Speaker Pauses – The speaker will be happy to answer any questions you have or further clarify what he said. Wait until after he pauses before asking your question. After listening completely, you may get your clarification. Otherwise, then would be an appropriate time to ask.
In some cases, the speaker may suggest that you listen first and hold questions for the end. If this is the case, jot down your questions so you don’t forget and ask at the specified time.
If you’re having a one-on-one conversation with someone, listen and take notes as they are speaking. In this way, you can always refer to your notes and further clarify what was said or to use at a later date when revisiting the conversation.
Put Yourself In The Speaker’s Shoes – Let the speaker know that you understand what he or she is saying and that you can feel the same emotions he or she felt.
When the speaker tells a story, listen and identify with what he’s saying and trying to convey.
Use facial expressions and even nod at times to let the speaker know you get where he’s coming from. Comment on it if there’s an opportunity to do so and express how the story made you think of something that may have happened to you.
During a one-on-one conversation, tell someone, ” I know you were relieved” or “I can understand how hard that must have been for you”; or “you must have felt like you had the burden of the world on your shoulders.” In each of these cases, you’ve let the speaker know that, once again, you get it.
Listening Skills Can Be Mastered
In order to get a better understanding as to what a speaker is saying, practice the four listening skills for mastery. Effective listening skills ensures that you have a more rewarding experience as you listen more intently and gain new information.
“Being a good listener is more than just being quiet. It’s reflecting back on what you’re hearing. It’s processing the information to formulate a question, a comment or a speech.” -Shelley Moore Capito
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