In today’s world of high speed, high tech and stress, communication is becoming increasingly important. The reason is that we are becoming much less devoted to spending the time to actually listen to one another. True active listening has become a rare gift. It is the basis of building successful relationships, problem-solving, conflict resolution, better understanding and for improvement of accuracy.
Better listening at the workplace means more effective work, less wasted time and fewer mistakes at the job.
At home, being able to listen can save marriages and money and also help the children to become more resourceful and self-reliant and ready for real life.
Here are some important tips for better listening.
- Maintain eye contact with the speaker
In western cultures maintaining eye contact while talking to someone is considered the basic ingredient of successful communication. Rather than staring at your smartphone or computer screen while you are talking to someone try to face them and maintain as much eye contact as possible. This will allow you to give them much more attention and listen to them carefully instead of dividing your attention.
- Stay attentive and relax
Once you have made proper eye contact, try to relax. There is absolutely no need to stare fixedly at the person you are listening to. Just carry on communicating in a normal manner but stay attentive. Try to focus on their voice and screen out any distractive thoughts and background noises.
- Stay open-minded
Don’t start criticizing or mentally judging the person who is talking to you. The reason is that as soon as you do that you have already compromised your own listening effectiveness. Don’t rush to any judgments or conclusions. Follow their train of thought instead of imposing them your own.
- Carefully listen to the words and try creating a mental picture
Try to mentally imagine the information you are receiving in your mind. This will help you stay alert and attentive during the conversation. Remember and focus on key phrases or words, especially when the conversation is long. Just try to think about what the other person is trying to tell you.
- Don’t hurry to interrupt with your own solutions
Yes, even though you are not a child anymore, it is still considered rude to interrupt someone. By interrupting you only show that you think that you are more important than the other person, or that you don’t really care what they are saying or think that you are more intelligent, clever or interesting. Needless to say, this is not the right way to listen properly.
- Listen to what the professionals have to say
If you are truly interested in learning how to become a good listener, you should consider taking an online course for active listening techniques or read some of the specialized books written by experts on the matter. Take a look here too.