So many of us like to be heard, but most of us don’t like to listen. I mean really listen. Listening is a forgotten art in a world, with the help of social media, we just shout at each other. Listening is the ability to accurately receive and interpret information. It is a key Communication Skill.
Listening is key to all effective communication. Without the ability to listen effectively, messages are easily and frequently misunderstood. This causes the communication breakdowns that we encounter on a daily basis.
Good listening skills can benefit our personal and professional lives. Listening can help to improve our self-esteem and confidence, improve grades at school and help our personal relationships.
I bet you are all saying to yourselves, ‘I always listen’ or ‘I’m a great listener’. And I am sure you are….. However, listening is not the same as hearing.
Hearing is just about sounds, but listening is about focus. It is about paying attention. I believe that listening is the most powerful way you can connect to someone. That is why it is important.
So, if you want to improve your listening skills, then the following may help you:
Stop talking: Sounds obvious I know, but when someone else is talking, just listen. Try not to interrupt or talk over them. Focus on what the other person is saying.
Avoid distractions: Try and avoid unnecessary interruptions. Including looking at your mobile phone, doodling on paper or starring out of window.
Be patient: Sometimes a pause can be a good thing. Let the speaker continue in their own time. Try not to finish their sentence for them.
Learn active listening: Let the person you are listening to know you are listening by giving feedback (when appropriate). Also, you can use verbal and non-verbal gestures. Such as maintaining eye contact, nodding your head or smiling.
The art of listening is an invaluable life skill. It could help you to succeed in every aspect of your life. As Bernard Baruch said ‘most of the successful people I know, are the ones who do more listening than talking’.
Stay focused and stay blessed.