Effective listening skills is one of the important quality of a every person. In today’s society communicating effectively has become more important and vital. Usually people mistake with reading skills with listening skills, but having a great reading skill may not mean of good listening skill or vice versa.
To be true, listening skills is very much important in communication, even when we compare that with reading skills. It is because listening happens instantly and in most of the situations we may not get a chance to hear it once more, while in reading we can read as many times , we need, to understand.
Being a good listener helps to solve conflict, problems, create and improve relationships. Effective listening can build friendships and also helps to create good careers.
Following are the tips which can help to create good listening skills.
1.Face the speaker with proper eye contact.
Eye contact is considered to be one of the important ingredient of effective communication. Just take an example, when two persons are talking, one person is simply looking around the room, paintings, table, computer etc., what will happen. One of the thing the other person will feel that you are not listening properly and he will loose interest in talking, at the same time other person also will not be able to understand the content of the talk, as he was admiring the room.
We cannot have that, look at me when I am talking, attitude as we are adults.
Do not use papers, books, phone, laptop or other distractions when you are hearing to somebody. Stay focused, as the other person is trying to communicate something with you.
2. Be attentive with an open mind.
The process of communication is started. Here we need to be attentive, it does not mean that you should stare at other person. You should be pleasant, relaxed. It is very important to note that we are not bothered about the way in which the other person is talking, the focus should be on the message he is trying communicate.
Another problem is prejudices or reservations you have on the other persons or on the subject he is trying to talk. Do not jump into conclusions well before the discussion is over. There may be instances where the person speaking may make mistake in wordings etc., but you should be careful enough not to take that carry your opinion. Do not interrupt while talking, let the other person complete his, then put your views.
3. Listen carefully and try to figure out what the speaker trying to express.
It looks simple to listen carefully, but it is difficult to do. Usually you will start planning to find questions to be asked the moment you start to hear. Then what will happen is, your question will make you biased. Do not try to rehearse what you want to tell, focus on the listener, so that you will get a clear picture.
4. One of the common mistakes what every listener used to do is, interrupt, interrupt and interrupt. Don’t do…don’t do…don’t do.
One of the big tragedy in our life is that we don’t like others interrupting us, but we will interrupt every possible person. Interruption forces the other person to feel that you are trying to dominant, as you are imposing, speaker will lose focus. Frequent interruptions will create a feeling that this is a contest and one of you have to win. How tragic it is?
It is natural that people will be having different types of speaking habits and quality. Some of us speaks very loudly, fast or slow. Understand and accept it, and adjust according to the situation. If the speaker is slow, do not feel bad and do not make him feel that you are getting bored.
When the discussion is about a problem, do not offer solutions or advices before the speaker completes. You may end up as a laughing figure, as the speaker may be able to explain the whole problem by the end of his speech.
5. Clarifications needed? Let the speakers stop or pause.
Speech is going on, you have doubt, do not ask in between, do not interrupt, wait till speaker stops or pauses. You can throw your questions with an excuse me. More importantly your question should not be on a topic he has not discussed, that means the entire question should be on the topic the speaker already explained. Also do not ask any distracting questions. Some of our questions, which are not on the subject, may the take the entire discussion to unwanted directions.
6. Put you in the place of speaker.
Very important aspect of listening. If you are not going along with the subject in the same wave length as the speaker, the entire discussion will become useless. You are not understanding what the speaker is trying to express. Try to be in the place of speaker to understand the feeling the speaker want to express.
7. Give regular feedback as well try to read the nonverbal communication the speaker is making.
While the speaker is expressing his/her view point you should not sit like a non living creature. Just think such a situation where the speaker is delivering speech and the person in front is motion less. The speaker will feel finished or he will feel that you are not interested.
So have a proper facial expressions, movement of heads, and some affirmative signs and sounds to make the speaker encouraged to complete his talk.
Proper communication completes only when the nonverbal communication also considered and understood carefully. So the listener should give importance to the nonverbal cues send the speaker to understand the intention of the speech.
Here is one exercise you can use to evaluation the quality listener you are. Do an evaluation yourself or take the help of one of your friend.