10 tips to improve your listening abilities at work
10 tips to improve your listening abilities at work
Listening is the ability to precisely receive and construe messages in the course of communication taking place between two or more individuals. Listening is a vital aspect for any kind of communication to take place. Without listening efficiently, frequently messages are misinterpreted owing to which communiqué discontinuities are witnessed and the transmitter feels discouraged or exasperated.
Listening is an important aspect for all employees irrespective of whether they are on a lower level or are on higher positions; hence it is often been observed that employers are trained on effective listening skills abilities. Effective listening ability can be substantiated as ladders for your triumph.
Good listening skills lead to
• Improved customer satisfaction
• It intensifies the productivity of the employee
• Blunders are reduced
• You are able to share improved information and in an enhanced way
• Your creativity and innovativeness gets a boost
Listening V/S Hearing
A lot of people misconnect between hearing and listening. But the fact is there is a huge variance amongst hearing and listening. Hearing denotes to the thuds that you hear, whereas listening requires focus.
Listening means paying attention not only to the story, but also to the way it is being narrated. You also pay attention to the other minute aspects like, body language, tone and pitch at which it is being said. Your ability to listen effectively depends on the degree to which you perceive and understand these messages.
“Active Listening” is an operative way that you can turn out to be an enhanced hearer. In active listening you make a sentient effort to overhear not only the words articulated by another individual but, more prominently you attempt to apprehend the whole of the message being directed towards you. For this you ought to pay complete attention to what the other person is saying. If you get distracted from what is going on in your environments, or by disagreeing with your counterpart, or just by getting jaded or losing your concentration, the outcome of this will result into laxity of eavesdropping as well as understanding what the other person is trying to convey.
How can you improve your listening skills?
1. Listen with your full attention
While you are being involved in a conversation, the first and foremost thing that you must keep in mind and practice to be an effective listener is to listen to the others point of view, without contemplating your point of view. This does not mean that you have to agree on whatever is being said by the other person, but you have to listen first carefully to his viewpoint.
If you listen carefully to the other person viewpoint, you never know you may discover some interesting facts that you may not be aware of. It will also help build your knowledge capacity, and as I have mentioned above listening carefully with your full attention means that you do not have to get distracted or lose your focus.
2. Overhearing the entire message
Supress the urge to let biases and prejudices prevent you from listening fully. You can do only one thing effectively at one time, either you can listen, judge or respond. If you follow the same order, i.e. firstly listen to the whole message, then judge the content which is being said and then lastly after judging all the pros and cons you respond with your suggestions.
Although most of us often listen and judge at the same time but keep it in mind once you have judged do not immediately respond in between. If you cannot remember the points, then jot them down on a paper and discuss after you have heard the entire conversation.
3. Determining the conceptions and dominant notions
One of the best ways to differentiate between whether you are just hearing or you actually are listening to what is being said; is when you actually start looking for new ideas on the same concept that is being discussed.
Also if you listen effectively to the speaker, you will know what the main topic of discussion was.
If you are discussing and have been hearing with efficacy, then you will be able to contribute to the discussion by sharing your own thoughts about the topic being discussed.
4. Adaptation to the speaker
Don’t countenance a typecast be it positive or negative to impact your listening ability. You cannot judge a person just the way he is dressed and how his overall appearance is. It is not that everybody has good looks, but that does not mean he does not have knowledge. Similarly not every speaker might have a good dressing sense, but that doesn’t mean you do not listen to him just because he is not dressed properly.
Ensuring oratory learning permits you to comprehend what precisely a reciter is falling short of, thus eradicating apparition and letting you to be aware of and admit the formal and delivery deficiencies are as you listen.
5. Evade disruptions
If you have to be effectual eavesdropper then you have to learn to dodge interruptions. If you have to become better listeners, you must learn to identify the hindrances faced by you. Common obstacles faced by people are:
• Environmental noises
• Psychological commotion of thoughts – For example, worrying or a person going through tension, depression
• Medical Condition: For example, Fever, Fatigue
• Corporeal distractions: For example, climatic condition, lighting problems
• Suffering from pain, hunger, etc.
• Semantic Commotions: For example, voice of the speaker, accent in which the discussion is going on
• Urge of checking your phones, or surfing the internet sites or any social networking sites.
A lot of people face problems in identifying the obstacles. But if you are able to identify what is that particular factor that is disturbing you, you can figure out a way out to deal with the obstruction.
For example: Changing the time of the meeting, or if you are not keeping well, you can excuse yourself from the meeting. Or say you are unable to understand what the speaker is saying, you can probably in a polite way suggest him that because of his accent or voice you are unable to understand what is being discussed. This will give an impression on the speaker, that yes you are trying to concentrate and listen to what the discussion is all about.
6. Do not interfere while someone is speaking
If you are listening effectively, it is natural you are going to have your own notions about the topic. But you have to control the urge of speaking those notions as soon as they are formed. That is one of the best qualities of being a good listener.
Always wait for your opportunity to come and then voice your opinion. If you interrupt in between, while the speaker is on with his point of view, then the speaker might feel offended, leaving a bad impression of yours in front of him.
Let the speaker know you are listening to him attentively
You have to let the speaker know that you are listening to him. If you sit with one monotonous expression on your face leaves the speaker with an impression that you are not interested in listening to him and it may act as a rude gesture against the speaker.
The below mentioned are a few of expressions that can help the listener learning that you are attentively listening to him:
• Nodding the head in affirmation
• Keeping an eye contact with the speaker
• Making notes of what is being discussed
• Asking or answering questions on regular intervals
There are lot of non – verbal gestures which give an impression to the speaker that you are not listening to him attentively, they are:
• No eye contact
• Not being able to answer the questions posed by the speaker
8. Understanding both verbal as well as non – verbal messages
While communication or being an active listener, one of the most important qualities is to perceive both verbal as well non – verbal messages of the speaker. Devoid of the facility to see another person’s facial expression, hand gestures, and other activities, we mislay remarkable portions of the communiqué.
9. Do not fake or pretend that you are listening
When somebody ponders that you have been paying attention but in truth you aren’t, you are alluring distress for yourself. If the orator notices that you are just pretending to be listening; you are offending the speaker. If you are probed to retort for some question, you will be caught off-guard and will writhe with discomfiture.
10. Putting up questions in front of the speaker
One important way to show that you are actively listening to the speaker is by posing the speaker with questions. At times asking a good question is imperative than knowing the riposte.