Listening comes First!

Did you know that speaking raises blood pressure, whereas attentive listening can bring it down? A great number of friends and social networks have improved confidence and students have achieved higher grades only through effective listening.
Listening is so important that many top employers provide listening training classes at work. Many successful leaders and entrepreneurs credit their success to effective listening skills. Richard Branson frequently quotes listening as one of the main factors behind the success of Virgin.

Effective listening is a skill that underpins all positive human relationships, spend some time thinking about and developing your listening skills – they are the building blocks of success. Listening is the ability to accurately receive and interpret messages in the communication process.
Listening is key to all effective communication, without the ability to listen effectively messages are easily misunderstood – communication breaks down and the sender of the message can easily become frustrated or irritated.

How good are you at listening?
This activity is just to make you evaluate your own listening skills and deficiencies. This could help you improve your listening deficiencies. Check on the habits that you may be guilty of committing when communicating with others. You should be a good listener to be a good communicator and these bad habits are not unusual for some to demonstrate.
Be honest with yourself!
o I interrupt often or try to finish the other person’s sentences.
o I jump to conclusions.
o I am often overly parental and answer with advice, even when not requested.
o I make up my mind before I have all the information. Saying, “Yes, but . .,” as if the listener has made up his mind.
o I am a compulsive note taker.
o Showing interest in something other than the conversation.
o Getting ahead of the speaker and finishing her thoughts.
o Not responding to the speaker’s requests.
o Topping the speaker’s story with “That reminds me. . .” or “That’s nothing, let me tell you about. . .”
o Forgetting what was talked about previously.
o Asking too many questions about details.
o I don’t give any response afterward, even if I say I will.
o I am impatient.
o I lose my temper when hearing things I don’t agree with.
o I try to change the subject to something that relates to my own experiences.
o I think more about my reply while the other person is speaking than what he or she is saying.
o Not looking at the speaker.
o Rushing the speaker and making him feel that he’s wasting the listener’s time.

Keys to Effective Listening
 Find areas of interest: The good listener opportunitize from by asking, “What’s in it for me?”
 Judge content, not delivery.
 Hold your point of view- The good listener doesn’t judge until comprehension is complete.
 Listen for ideas and not facts
 Be flexible- The good listener takes fewer notes and uses 4-5 different systems, depending on the speaker.
 Work at listening-The good listener works hard and exhibits an active body state.
 Resist distractions.
 Exercise your mind and Keep your mind open-The bad listener reacts to emotional words. The good listener interprets “colorful” words and does not get hung up on them.
 Capitalize on the fact that ‘thought is faster than speech’. The good listener challenges, anticipates, mentally summarizes, weighs the evidence, and listens between the lines to the tone of voice.

Change from bad to good and be an effective listener to improve the efficiency. Listening enriches know-how and knowledge and helps fulfilling requirements through progressive learning. Good communications require making an investment but one which is bound to produce benefits.

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