Listening is directly tied to all of our communication.
Yet you would be surprised at just how much communication occurs every day where effective listening skills are missing.
Good Listening Skills
Many of us need to hear something more than just once to fully process it and understand.
You may be surprised to learn that this is because the person lacks good listening skills. What’s alarming is this seems to becoming an epidemic. The good news is that developing listening skills isn’t at all difficult.
Improving Listening Skills – Developing Critical Listing Abilities
Here are ten easy steps to help you improve your listening skills, and become a much better listener.
1. Fine Tune Your Listening Based on the Situation:
If you are in a meeting with your boss you’ll need different listening skills than if you are listening to the news on TV.
2. Minimize all External and Internal Distractions:
Distractions are a fact of life and to improve your ability to listen you need to minimize these distractions whenever possible. You have control over some distractions, such as closing a door when there is too much noise in a hallway, but others you have little control over such as when you develop a migraine.
3. Use Nonverbal Communication to Show You Are Listening:
Nod, smile, make eye contact, to show you are listening, and don’t forget about your posture.
4. Make Note of Important Points:
During business meetings listen carefully and remember key points by repeating them or by writing them down.
5. Show Empathy
When you are listening show empathy when appropriate.
6. Never Interrupt
Let the other person finish speaking before you ask questions or reply.
7. Don’t Give Advice Unless You’re Asked
Not everyone wants you to solve their problems, so don’t give advice unless you’ve been asked for it.
8. Stay Focused
Don’t let your mind wonder. Stay focused and learn how to concentrate.
9. Don’t Make Judgments on Looks
Don’t judge the message based on what the person looks like. Almost everyone has something to teach you.
10. Stay Clearheaded
No matter what the topic, even emotional discussions, stay clear headed. You’ll be much more credible if you can remain calm and state your case.
Active Listening – Skills Exercise
There are a number of listening skill activities and listening skill exercises that can help you develop good listening skills:
- As part of improving your active listening skills you need to learn how to ask lots of questions, but don’t be excessive.
- Use words like “I know,” “I see,” “I understand,” and then summarize. This acknowledges the other person.
- Stay focused and pay attention to what the other party is saying. If you are focused only on the person that is speaking you will become a better listener.
- Be respectful of yourself and the other party.
- Repeat what is said and even take notes so you can refer back later.
- Be you!
Knowing How to Improve and Develop Listening Skills
When it comes to communication, listening is the most important skill we have. It can affect how well you do your job, your ability to interact with clients and co-workers, and even whether you will be promoted or not. Good listening skills are certainly worth your time to develop.
“Improve listening skills and life will get that much easier as people understand what your needs are.”