How many times do you come across a situation where you feel like shaking the other person because he or she is not listening to you? Well it is fairly common situation where people do not listen because listening is a skill you need to develop! Hearing is a physical phenomenon but listening is one of the most important skills when it comes to communication! As it is true for communication skills it is also true for listening skills. You can develop the skill any time you want.
Being an Active listener means you give total concentration to the speaker. You are there with all your faculties focused on the speaker and what he is trying to say. You do not let other distractions distract you. You do not let your mind wander away from the topic. Try and understand what the speaker is trying to say. It consists of 3 main skills:
1. Attentiveness or Non verbal clues:
When you are developing your listening skills you need to pay attention to the non verbal clues of the speaker. The facial expressions and the hand gestures are the clue to understand the message more effectively! The posture of the speaker also gives you valuable clues for understanding the point.
The words used and what they mean is the most obvious clue but if the body language is telling you something different than the actual words spoken then you can draw your own inference!
2. Encouraging or Verbal Response:
Giving correct or appropriate is very important while developing listening skill. For that you have to learn to maintain eye contact with the speaker. Let your face show that you are interested in the topic. You can smile or let your puzzlement show on the face so that the speaker knows that you are following his thoughts. Make verbal affirmation that you are engaged and following their line of thought. ” I see” , “Yep that makes sense” etc..
3. Reflective Listening:
Let the speaker finish before you ask any questions. Make sure that you are asking appropriate questions. Get the idea or thought clear if there is any confusion. Make sure you are paying full attention while the speaker is speaking. If you are busy thinking about your turn to speak the whole exercise of developing your listening skills will be in jeopardy! Use paraphrasing and clarifying to show interest and help the communication become more reflective to gain accurate message intent.
Practice being more aware of how you are listening over the next week and see if you pick up better responses of the person you are communicating to.
I hope you have enjoyed this communication training and remember to drop me a line and give me your feedback anytime.
To Your Communication Success,