How to develop good listening skills?

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In today’s high-tech world where everyone is so focused on their virtual life, real conversations are long forgotten. Our mind is sometimes distracted even while we are talking to someone and this leads to us being labelled as poor listeners. It is essential that we have a decent listening skill for both our public and private life.

What is listening and why is it important?

Listening is a complex active-process that includes the ability to accurately receive, interpret and understand what the speaker is saying. It is the other half of the art of conversation and is just as important as speaking.

As it is a part of our senses, a decent skill of listening helps us in situations where we are unable to see or touch anything or anyone; it makes us more aware about our surrounding. It also helps in us being more efficient with our work and relationships, leading to fewer misunderstandings and problems. A good listener is trusted and liked more by people than a person gives a deaf ear to what others have to say.

Importance of good listening skills in the private and public sphere.

Any relationship that is based on good communication works; this includes all sorts of relationships like parent-child or husband-wife. What is good communication? It is when an equal amount of importance is given to both speaking and listening skills by all parties involved. And if we don’t focus on listening carefully, it will lead to misunderstandings and trust issues which are bad for every relationship.

In schools or workplaces, it is required that we have decent listening skills if we want to avoid making mistakes and create problems. A poor listener is never trusted by fellow mates and is seen as an inconsiderate person.

How to improve your listening skills?

1. Pay attention to the speaker, focus on what s/he is saying and put all distracting thoughts aside.
2. Show that you are listening by random nods, smile or other facial expressions and use any small verbal comment.
3. Keep an open mind and try to understand the speaker’s perspective, and what s/he is saying.
4. Understand the situation and ask any questions if required to make everything clear.
5. Provide the speaker with feedback if required keeping aside any sort of judgment.
6. But make sure that you are honest about your response, be respectful in asserting your opinion and treat the other person as you think they want to be treated.

As we all know that old habits are hard to break and it also very hard for us to control our body language if we are poor listeners. But after attaining all the listening skills mentioned above our communication skills will improve. Being an attentive listener will lead to improvements in productivity in the workplace, a better understanding of surrounding and developing better relationships in both private and public spheres of our life.

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