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How to Improve Listening Skills

How to Improve Listening Skills

Listening is so much more than nodding and repeating the last words during a conversation, and effective listening comes from better relationships with coworkers, family, and friends. Listening skills are very valuable in a job environment and your social life, hence the need to learn how to listen actively.

What is Active Listening?

This communication technique requires you to carefully listen to what people say and observe their non-verbal cues. It means you have to be fully concentrated on what is being said, rather than waiting to reply or passively hearing the speaker. Active listening involves paying attention to all senses, understanding, and providing Feedback by nodding or paraphrasing.

Here are 5 Tips for Becoming an Effective Listener

  1. Paying attention:

Always give the speaker your undivided attention, and try to understand the message. Also, recognize that non-verbal communication also “speaks” loudly.

Make sure you Look at the speaker directly and put away distracting thoughts.

Avoid mentally preparing a rebuttal, and don’t be distracted by environmental factors. For example, side conversations and background noises.

2. Convince the speaker that you’re listening:

your body language and gestures subconsciously show that you are engaged.

So Nod occasionally, smile, and use other facial expressions.

Make sure that your posture is good and that you’re interested. Lastly, engage the speaker to continue with small verbal comments like yes and okay, also show surprise when you’re expected to be.

3. Don’t interrupt:

Interrupting wastes time. It frustrates the speaker and limits the listener from understanding the message.

Always let the speaker finish every point before asking questions.

Don’t interrupt with counterarguments or side talks.

4. Give Feedback:

Personal assumptions, judgments, and beliefs can distort our hearing and understanding. Because a listener’s role is to understand what is being said, reflect on what is being said, and ask questions.

Always reflect on what has been said by paraphrasing. “What I’m hearing is…,” and “Sounds like you are saying…,” are great ways to reflect.

Ask questions when you need to clarify certain points. For example, What do you mean when you say.” Is this what you mean?”

Summarize the speaker’s comments after you have carefully thought about them.

5. Respond Accordingly:

The benefits of active listening can be seen in all aspects of your life. 

Active listening encourages respect and understanding. At the same time, gaining information and insight on the topic. Try to Be candid, open, and honest in your response by Asserting your opinions respectfully. Always treat the other person so that you would want to be treated.

Here are 6 Reasons Active Listening is Important in Your Social and Work-Life

1. Problem-solving: listening can help you quickly identify challenges and problems with projects and find solutions even easier. Even in your social life and in your relationships.

2. Accurate information:

Active listening helps you get more details about other people and clearly understand what they mean.

3. Respect:

Listening with full attention shows respect which will make you respected in return. Because people like to be listened to, please pay attention to their conversation partner, show interest, and find common ground.

4. Healthy relationships:

Active listening helps to connect and build relationships with others by avoiding miscommunication and focusing on understanding each other. Allow others to speak without interruptions.

5. Conflict Resolution:

Listen carefully and let others talk when trying to defuse tense situations. Listening to and comprehending what the other person is saying is instrumental in removing disputes. When we paraphrase what we’ve heard, including their emotions, you provide new perspectives. You can also reframe the message to help you move on and pursue solutions to the disputes.

6. Language learning:

Active listening allows you to take in and consider what you and the other person said. Consciously studying the person, you are communicating with, 

can help you pick up on different vocabulary and terms you might not have known before. 

The main barrier to effective active listening usually includes concerns, biases, and prejudices. Because the listener only focuses on what they expect to hear. Biases and prejudices might blur the message’s real perspective, which prevents us from understanding what the other people are trying to say.

Everyone has internal issues and concerns, and when we are preoccupied, we don’t listen. It might look like it, but we don’t. Instead, we come up with our schedule, and instead of listening, we rehearse. Rehearsing happens when the listener is more focused on preparing their response than listening. This can hinder effective communication and is still simply not good for anyone.

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