We tend to pay a great deal of attention to our ability to speak. From Toastmasters to an unlimited amount of courses, workshops, and training available we see that speaking, especially public speaking is a desirable & sought-after skill. Public speaking is an important ability for those who desire to advance their career in business / politics. But, considering all the noise concerning the importance of speaking, listening is virtually ignored. It can be argued that listening is just as important as speaking is. All desire to be heard & understood, and people will appreciate us more if we do the same. Here are a few ways to do the same –
Always be in the Moment - Have you ever been speaking to someone and felt they’re distracted and not really listening to you? You probably felt this is annoying, frustrating, & disrespectful. At that point you may have even gotten angry or maybe shut the conversation. When someone is speaking it is important to be fully present in the moment with them. If something else is on your mind, like a text you need to answer, just let them know & do what you need to do, and when you’re done, let them know you are ready to listen.
When listening pay attention to the words, the tone of voice, facial expressions, and body language. This information is just as important as the words themselves.
Pick their Key Points and Make sure they know you did – A lot of people have trouble focusing on what someone is saying, especially if they speak for longer than a minute or more. It is easy for attention to drift somewhere else that we might find more interesting. If this happens, try to pick up some key points in the conversation. After they finish talking, let them know you heard them by mentioning those key points you heard them say & ask to clarify anything you missed out. You’ll be forgiven for not being able to follow the entire conversation if the person believes you made some honest effort.
Practice Active Listening – Most of the people are thinking of how they are going to reply when someone is talking. Instead, try to focus fully on what the person is actually saying. Just pretend that you’ll be tested on how much of you heard and understood of what was said. A great practice is to sit down with a family member or a friend & practice simply giving feedback to them of what you heard them say. You will notice that it will get a lot easier focusing on their words when you aren’t worrying about how you will say as response.
Practising these simple ways regularly will definitely help you be a better listening. Being a good listener will not just make you a better friend or relative but will also help you immensely in your professional life. The next time you have to really listen, do not worry about how you will respond but just fully absorb what the other person is trying to say. People will appreciate you more. Comment down below if you know of any other ways to better your listening skills. If you enjoyed this article, do come back for more! Happy Listening!