Listneing Effective: Listening is the ability to accurately receive and interpret messages in the communication process. Listening is key to all effective communication, without the ability to listen effectively messages are easily misunderstood and the communication chain breaks down.
First we need to understand one important point and that is Listening is not the same as hearing.
Hearing refers to the sound that you hear, whereas listening requires more than that, it requires focus and you need to pay attention closely. Listening means paying attention not only to the story, but how it is told, the use of language and voice, and how the other person uses his or her body. It means being aware of both verbal and non-verbal messages.
Some tips for better listening
1. Stop talking when someone is talking
When somebody else is talking, listen to what they are saying, do not interrupt, talk over them or finish their sentences for them. Stop, just listen. When the other person has finished talking you can also clarify to ensure you have received their message accurately.
2. Prepare yourself to listen
Relax. Focus on the speaker. Put other things out of mind. The human mind is easily distracted by other thoughts such as “what’s for lunch is it going to rain” try to put other thoughts out of mind and concentrate on the messages that are being communicated.
3. Put on speaker at ease
Help the speaker to feel free to speak. Remember their needs and concerns. Use gestures or words to encourage them to continue. Maintain eye contact but don’t stare; show you are listening and understanding what is being said.
4. Remove distractions
Focus on what is being said: don’t shuffle papers, look out the window, and pick your fingernails etc. Avoid unnecessary interruption. These behaviors disrupt the listening process and send messages to the speaker that you are bored or distracted
Try to understand the other person’s point of view. Look at issues from their perspective. By having an open mind you can fully empathize with the speaker. If the speaker says something that you disagree with then wait and construct an argument to counter what is said but keep an open mind to the views and opinions of others.
6. Be patient
A pause, even a long pause, does not necessarily mean that the speaker has finished. Be patient and let the speaker continue in their own time, sometimes it takes time to formulate what to say and how to say it. Never interrupt or finish a sentence for someone.
7. Listen to the tone
Volume and tone both add to what someone is saying. A good speaker will use both volume and tone in the best way to keep an audience attentive; everybody will use pitch, tone and volume of voice in certain situations –let these help you to understand the emphasis of what is being said.
8. Wait and watch for non-verbal communication
Gestures, facial expressions, and eye-movements can all be important. We don’t just listen with our ears but also with our eyes –watch and pick up the additional information being transmitted via non-verbal communication.