Listening Skills | Become A Better Listener
I don’t know about you, but listening has been one of my down falls. I have found that is it is not my fault completely I just didn’t know the skills needed.
Listening is an important skill when it comes to communication. I have talked about it before in my post on Mindset Of A Good Leader | What Voice are you listening to?
Listening is one skill in communication that is vital. People crave having friendships and others to talk to. We all are trying to sell ourselves to others in one way or another.
Having a conversation to where people listen to what you say, comes from how you listen to what others are saying.
You can talk all you want, but if you do not hear what others want, the conversation dies.
I read a great article by Adam Dachis, on “How Can I Improve My Listening Skills”, and here are some of the highlights. (Keep reading and see if you can relate.)
They say that the lack of the ability to listen well, is either the lack of a decent attention span or the desire to actually pay attention.
What happens when other people talk or when there is silence…………… the mind will tend to wander, or at least mine does. (It seems like I am thinking of all the things that can relate to the topic and off I go. I change the subject way too fast.)
What I found out is that It does this because my brain doesn’t have to process any specific action, so it wanders.
Create Skills To Become A Better Listener
[tweet_box design=”box_11″]Become A Better listener[/tweet_box]
I want to share with you a few tricks that I am learning to help me become a better listener.
- Look invested. Your body language turns into listening mode that covers your mouth. Engaging eye contact helps it look like you are listening. Keeping your mind on topic.
To set yourself up and make it a habit. Fake it as naturally as possible. Make eye contact, but don’t stare. Look at the bridge of their nose or their mouth. Your eyes move naturally, so shift them up and down or look away once in awhile.
Now to the covering of the mouth. Don’t just put your hand over it.
That just makes you look funny. Just move one finger, then maybe curl it up. Depending on if you are sitting or standing. Just shifting your weight now and then depending on how long they are talking.
Once this becomes habit, you will find that it is natural and you will start to believe that you are a good listener and you probably will be.
- Fidget less to Listen More
Everyone has social skills that need a little or a lot of improvement. Eventually you’ll get used to it and become it. Once you start acting it you will believe it.
Your body language matters, but you need to watch them also. We communicate with body language almost more than speech.
- Hearing with your eyes
Body language accounts for up to 55% of how we communicate, but here are a few things you need to watch out for.
Smiles and laughs point to joy, frowns don’t.
Averted eyes signal discomfort
Crossed arms or closed body language discloses discomfort.
Watch for clues and you will figure out what you missed in a conversation.
Practice makes perfect. You will naturally pick up on body language and won’t have to try anymore.
- Learn to Speed Listen
Have you ever taken a course on speed reading? Its quite interesting to know that you can use this in listening.
You’ll only really need to listen to the first sentence, the last sentence, and chunks of words in between. With that small amount of information you’ll know the following.
…….The topic the speaker brought up and what to expect as they continue.
…….Keywords relating to their overall points
…….What they expect from you when they finish talking
(Note: this only works in a conversation, not a lecture where more detail is needed.)
Listening Skills need to be Practiced.
Here is how you do some of this practice:
..Put all your concentration on the first sentence, (maybe a little more if that didn’t make sense). What did the other person say?
..Allow your mind to wander just a little, then bring it back to the conversation. Why? If you think about it, you pause when you speak. If you struggle to control your attention use this to switch out of your thoughts and then focus again on the speaker. Eventually it will become second nature.
.. Remember your eye contact and watch for body language. When people get ready to wrap up their point and expect and answer you will notice. At this point you will want to focus on the last sentence. Then it is your turn to respond.
[tweet_box design=”box_07″]Here are ways to catch yourself and give the other one respect.[/tweet_box]
If you falter at first, just say “Sorry, I’m having trouble hearing you, There’s a lot of noise right behind me”. (make sure there is).
Or “I’m so sorry, My brain went on wondering, What was the last thing you just said?” That will get enough from them to help you respond and move the conversation forward.
If they like to ramble a lot, Just say “Sorry, my brain likes to jumble things up a bit, I don’t think I understood that last part?”
Wrapping up to Become a better listener
As you get better at speed listening, even despite your poor focus, you will get better at the recovery methods. You will start asking questions. More people will crave this and will overlook that you really didn’t listen, and it will help the conversation.
This is what therapists use to help with self-evaluation. It turns the speaker around to repeat what they said and they find their own answers. This makes you look like you heard everything they said.
Don’t let the conversation and communication die. Learn the skill of listening.
I have been practicing this for myself lately and it might sound horrible, but as you learn and as you practice, you too will find that you are a much better listener and will actually get a lot more out of the conversation.
Become a better listener,
If you liked my this post on Listening Skills, then you will love this training program. I dives deeper into how to frame your language and become a better communicator and eventually be able to sell anything to anybody with little effort.
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