How to improve listening skills
Listening skills are crucial if you want to have a good relationship with others. One of the difference between hearing and listening is that when you are listening you can try to give some acknowledgments, from time to time, to the person that’s talking so they know that you are really listening. Improving your listening skills helps you both professionally and personally. Listening is a skill that may be learned and practiced.
A good listener is not just a silent receptacle, passively receiving the thoughts and feelings of others. To be an effective listener, you must respond with verbal and nonverbal cues that let the speaker know — actually prove — that you are listening and understanding.
1. Be close enough to the person you are listening to so you can hear clearly. Turn off any background noise such as a radio or telephone. Make eye contact, look at the person you are speaking to or who is speaking to you. Looking in another direction or distracting glances appear as though you are not listening.
2. Avoid side conversations and focus completely on the person in your conversation. Move your attention from surrounding conversations and refrain from texting or answering your phone. By removing distractions, you can show your ability to listen and respond well.
3. Make a habit of not interrupting the person(s) that is/are talking to you. this is a great exercise to improve your listening skills. Improving your listening skills means to stop talking and paying attention to what others are saying.
4. Whenever you’re in a discussion, let the speaker finish his statement before trying to reply. If you absolutely need to interrupt the speaker or maybe raise a point, you have to be patient until you get a chance.
5. A great exercise to improve listening skills is to ask questions throughout a conversation. If you ask, people will know that you are listening to what they are saying, you will keep a lively conversation, prevent any possible misunderstandings and most importantly, you will develop your listening skills.
6. Be patient when you don’t understand; getting upset won’t solve any problems but will only create more.
7. It is important that you show and have respect for the speaker. If you respect the other person you will pay more attention to him/her. Make a conscious effort to develop a genuine interest for others and what they have to say.
8. Start having conversations with people that you feel comfortable talking to. Once you start paying attention to people you will realize the importance of listening to others.
9. If you have something good to say, something that you liked about the other person or the way he/she talked, always say it. Don’t keep that all for yourself. Anyone likes to be complimented and if you liked something it’s much better to say it loud.
10. Have a pen and paper to hand and get into the habit of making short quick references to any questions you want to ask or points you wish to raise or comment on. When your caller has finished speaking refer back to your notes and take action. If you are thinking of answers and responses whilst the caller is speaking, you are not listening.