Listening Skills for Effective Communication

listening skillsby Rachel Eidan

We can all be more effective communicators by using our ears more than our mouths. Be honest, how much have you ever learned listening to yourself talk?

We often think that good communicators are good speakers; however, the most powerful communicators have excellent listening skills. Many people take the skill of listening for granted. You have ears, so you listen all the time, right? But you need to ask yourself how well you listen. 

Nurture the conversation with a caring ear

Not only do you gather valuable information when you listen, you show respect for others. Good listening skills are just as valuable at work as they are at home. For instance, parents who listen actively to their children nurture a sense of self-worth and confidence to help them grow. Every parent knows that simply hearing what their child says is not enough. They need to focus their full attention on the child and listen actively to hear the words, interpret the meaning and encourage the conversation.

At work, tuning in to your clients and colleagues will have the same benefits. In our communication skills workshops, we teach the importance of listening to foster strong business relationships.

Fine-tune your listening skills with these tips:

1.    Be patient – You may be very anxious to blurt out your thoughts while someone else is sharing theirs but don’t do it! Avoid the temptation to interject your opinion until the speaker has had a chance to complete their thought.

2.    Listen with an empathetic ear – Listening effectively is not easy. You need to focus. Listen for the words and the feelings.

3.    Be attentive – Use your body language to look interested, not distracted. Don’t send signals that your mind is elsewhere. Relax your posture and maintain good eye contact to show that you are fully engaged in the conversation.

Do you have any strategies you use to be an active, engaged listener? Please share in the comments!

 

3 Comments
  1. Along the lines of number 2 – not just hearing what they are saying, but what they are not saying and what they really mean. I find many people get upset by what people say and don’t try to understand the intention behind the words. Many people are not well-spoken/articulate so you can’t assume they mean what you think they mean. We need to ask probing questions.

    And further to number 1 – I find it annoying to have a conversation where the person never comments on my opinion or asks more questions, but simply says what they feel. I feel they are not engaged at all.

  2. Very nice article.
    That is why god gave us two (2) ears and one (1) mouth. So we should hear / listen more than speak.

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