It is important to develop your listening skills. Most of us hear what is being said but do not have the knack to really listen carefully.
Have you been told by someone that you were not listening? And you insisted that you were by the fact that you were actually sitting right in front of her.
She could be right.
It’s possible that your body was there but your mind wasn’t. At the back of your mind, you might be thinking of something else; work, games, and who knows what else. Your posture, your eyes and your facial expressions tell a lot.
7 Ways to Improve Your Listening Skills.
1. Pay Attention.
Your mind will start to wander when the person you are speaking with says something that triggers a thought.
Make a conscious effort to suspend unrelated thoughts and to focus on the present. If there are outside distractions such as noise, move closer, find a better environment or try your best to ignore them.
Be attentive and be really present. Maintain eye contact while listening and position your body or posture to show that you are interested and paying attention.
2. Use Your Other Senses Besides Your Ears
Other than using your ears, use your eyes and your heart to listen. Try to enter her frame of mind as she speaks.
When you listen with your eyes, you give her the full attention that she craves for. She will know that you care.
Listening with your heart will make it possible for you to understand her.
3. Don’t Interrupt.
Interrupting while someone is talking is rude.
Be aware that people normally talk about “surface statements”. There are more that are left unsaid.
When someone says that she is thinking about doing something, she may already have a complete mental picture. If you allow her to continue talking, you will get the complete picture and meaning that she is trying to convey.
Voice out your opinion only after she has stopped talking but don’t object, or tell her that she was wrong. To show her that you understand what she said, repeat or rephrase her statements. You can say something such as, “So what you are saying is…”
4. Avoid Making Judgments.
To be a good listener, put aside the need to judge. Keep an open mind and listen even if the things that are being said contradict your beliefs. It doesn’t mean that you are submitting or agreeing to the person’s view. It shows that you respect the other person and her views.
5. Know When to Respond.
Avoid the urge to respond or answer. At times, people just want to talk with someone. She may have no intention to seek for advice. You don’t have to offer your opinion if there isn’t a need to do so.
Acknowledge that you are listening by showing non verbal cues such as nodding and making remarks such as “I see” or “go on.”
6. Learn Body Language.
According to a study, words only account for 10% of the message being delivered. 30% of communication comes from the sound and the tones and 60% from the body language. Voice tones, vocal varieties, breathing and micro color changes in the face carry more messages.
So make an effort to learn and understand body language.
7. Take Notes.
In certain situations, you may have to write down or take notes of keys points. Don’t trust your mind because it can only retain a small percentage of what you are hearing.
It is important to develop your listening skills because it helps improve your relationships with your spouse or partner, your children, the people at work, your clients, friends and everyone else in your life.
Being a good listener helps you understand people better. You will develop good rapport and build trust.
You will also improve other communications skills, make fewer mistakes and avoid misinterpreting when you understand a message well.