6 Ways to Become a Better Listener
Listening is a critical skill, but unfortunately less attention is paid to it. Effective listening is critical to our development as individuals. Our current personality make up is a sum of majorly all the listening we have done over the years. We listened to our parents, we listened to our teachers, we listened to our spiritual leaders, and we listened to our friends to mention a few. The benefits of listening can be maximized by improving our competence in the act. Note that listening is an active process unlike hearing. It requires some level of effort. Below are 6 ways to improve our listening skills.
1 Avoid Anticipation
Anticipating or thinking about what the speaker is likely to say can affect our listening. When you spend time thinking of the speaker’s next point, you automatically stop listening actively.
2 Don’t Pre-judge
Don’t spend time judging or jumping into conclusion about the speaker. Perhaps the speaker makes a mistake or mispronounces a word or even makes a grammatical error, ensure to disregard these during the lifespan of the speech. Poor listening also include judging the speaker based on superficialities, like the speaker’s delivery, appearance, voice type, accent, etc. Effective listeners overlook these gaffes.
3 Don’t React Too Emotionally
When a speaker says something personal or touching or something that carries emotional weight, don’t dwell on it for too long or relate it to a personal experience and wander away. This attitude is counter-productive to active listening.
4 Keep an Open Mind
In listening, you are not waiting to hear what you want to hear, but listening to what is said as it is said. Remember, listening to a point of view does not mean that you have to accept that point of view. Understanding this can help you develop the habit of keeping an open mind as a listener.
5 Identify Distractions
Early on, identify those things that can distract you from listening and make conscious effort to reduce or prevent their effect on you. Like moving away from people discussing or disturbing behind you or switching off the TV when your son has something important to tell you or turning off you phones/mobile devices, etc.
6 Take Notes
Taking notes advances your ability to engage actively to the speaker’s words. You are not required to write out every word the speaker says. As much as attempting to do this is almost impossible, it will stop you from listening properly. Your focus should be on noting main points, key concepts and gaining an overall understanding of the speaker’s talk.
A good number of us deprioritize the act of listening. But this is a skill that when improved can benefit us professionally, academically and in our relationships. I implore you to think of the above points and use them to move your listening skill to the next level.
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