How to Improve Your Listening Skills

  • By ThiQuyen
  • March 17, 2021
  • 0
  • 471 Views

Public speaking is considered to be an essential ability for those who desire to advance their career in business and politics. But considering all the noise concerning the importance of speaking, listening is virtually ignored. It can be argued that listening is every bit as important as speaking. Everyone desires to be heard and understood, and we reward people who provide us with those opportunities with our trust and loyalty. Here are the best ways to improve your listening skills you need to know.

Best Ways to Improve Your Listening Skills

1. Maintain eye contact with the speaker to improve your listening skills

improve your listening skills

 

When you are listening to someone talk, you should avoid looking out a window, texting or scrolling through your phone, or scanning a computer screen. Limit any unnecessary distractions, provide the speaker with your undivided attention and make an effort to look at them. This provides them with a nonverbal cue that you are interested in what they are saying, which encourages them to continue expressing themselves.

Consider that the speaker may not look at you because they might be shy, feel uncertain, or their culture may not use direct eye contact for communication. You should continue to face the speaker even if they do not look at you.

2. Visualize what the speaker is saying

Try to conjure up mental images of what the speaker is talking about while you are listening to help retain information. This may be a literal picture or other concepts that relate to the topic. This will help you to remember keywords and phrases when you listen for long periods. Visualizing what the speaker is saying will also help you to not have to prepare for what to say next.

If you happen to lose focus, make sure to immediately refocus.

3. Keep an open mind to improve your listening skills

improve your listening skills

 

Do not judge or mentally criticize what the speaker is telling you. Doing so can compromise your ability to take in what is being said. Never exhibit judgmental behavior, as it compromises your effectiveness as a listener. You can evaluate what was said after the speaker is finished talking, but don’t do so while you are still listening to them.

Let the speaker finish what they are saying and don’t be a sentence-grabber. Interrupting the speaker or prohibiting them from finishing what they are saying can indicate disrespect to the speaker. Often, interrupting the speaker mid-sentence interrupts their train of thought and can easily destroy a productive conversation.

4. Active listening

Active listening shows the speaker that you’re interested and is an important business communication skill. Using active listening techniques helps to ensure that you correctly understand what is said.

Here are active listening techniques:

  • Paraphrasing back to the speaker what was said, to show understanding
  • Nonverbal cues (nodding, eye contact, etc.)
  • Verbal affirmations (“I understand,” “I know,” “Thank you,” etc.)
  • Demonstrating concern and establishing rapport

5. Put yourself in their shoes

 

Whether you agree with the speaker or even have an interest in what they have to say, what they are saying is important to them. Imagine yourself in their situation, wanting only to have someone listen to them. When they are speaking, make an effort to think of where they are coming from and why.

Imagine what their life is like and what struggles they might be facing. People will appreciate that you made the effort to understand and really hear them.

6. Wait for a pause to ask questions

You may not understand everything someone says to you. It is best to wait until they pause to ask them to back up and provide clarification for the topic or phrase you misunderstood.

Asking clarifying questions helps to keep the conversation on the topic. You only want to ask questions that pertain to your understanding rather than ask a question about something that is not related to the main idea the speaker is trying to get across. When you ask clarifying questions without interrupting, it shows that you are listening, paying attention, and willing to discuss things further.

In conclusion, listening skills are an essential part of good communication. When you are an attentive listener, you can begin to improve relationships, make decisions more effectively and reach agreements with others quickly. You should apply these ways to improve your listening skills to get great results in your life.

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