One of the most critical skills of being a successful communicator is developing your skill as a listener. Yes, listening is a skill! Many times people confuse the term listening with the term hearing, when in fact they are two separate things.
Hearing is a passive action that one does not necessarily comprehend, instead it is more like side-noise. Whereas listening involves being in a more actively engaged state where you are hearing what is happening as well as comprehending, understanding, and reacting to what is being heard. It is very important to become a good listener in order to be able to communicate effectively in life. Here are some quick tips on how to improve your skill as a listener.
- Be empathetic
Empathetic means listening to the person you are talking to and putting yourself in their shoes. Look at things from his or her perspective, from their point of view. This will help you understand where they’re coming from and how they’re feeling, which will help you better understand how to responds the best way.
- Ask questions
Asking questions will help give you clarifications on what the other person is trying to communicate which will, in turn, help you listen better and understand how to respond. Also, it lets the other person know you are actively engaged and care about what they are saying.
- Put away the cell phone
This also goes for any other distractive advice. When you’re engaged in any device like this, you’re not listening effectively. You are not only being distracted, but you are also disrespecting the person talking. Do yourself a favor and lose the electronic devices when engaging in any conversation!
- Make eye contact
Look at the other person in the eyes. Don’t look down, look at your watch, or look at the clock. Look at the other person acknowledge that they are engaging with you thoughtful information. This is a great sign of respect and can help the other person in knowing that you are interested in what they are saying more than what time it is!
Listening is a skill that is developed and practiced. But when you become a better listener, it will be much easier for you to communicate with others, as well as earn you much more respect!
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