Speaking in Rhythms

Speaking Zen


October 12, 2016

How to Listen Better

coffee break

Communication is not a one way street. It is not just about you speaking or sending your message across. It also requires a lot of active listening. There is a huge difference between hearing words as opposed to processing and understanding the message. And you can only be better at the latter if you know how to listen well. Here are some ideas on how to hone your listening skills at any time.

Pay attention to your body language. Your body language may inadvertently send the wrong message. You have to align your words with your actions to convey a clear message. Pay attention to your non-verbal cues. The way you angle your body, your posture, and other habits you may have can either show interest or lack of it.

Be present. All sorts of internal and external distractions can steal your focus away if you allow it. To develop better communication skills, you have to practice giving your full attention to the person talking and what is being said.

Stay objective. You may or may not agree on the things you hear. Or some may feel unpleasant for whatever reason. Do not let how you feel cloud your judgment or affect your ability to hear out what is being said.

Do not interrupt. Interruptions can disrupt the speaker’s flow of ideas or thoughts. It may even come across as rudeness to some people. Improving communication skills entails waiting for the appropriate time to ask questions or make clarifications if needed.

Stay calm. Conflicts and disagreements usually involve heightened emotions. You have to keep calm and maintain clarity of mind if you aim to improve your listening skills. While it may be difficult at the onset, you can learn to listen objectively despite whatever negative emotions are brewing or swirling around you.

Use eye contact. Making eye contact with the person talking signifies interest. It also helps keep you focused on the topic at hand.

Remember the key points. Make a mental note of the key points that can help you understand the message or information being conveyed to you. Not only will this help you ask smart and relevant questions, but it also shows that you are paying attention to what the speaker is saying.

There is much to listening than many think. You cannot be a good communicator if you do not know how to actively listen. Thankfully, there are ways to improve your listening skills which can help you build and strengthen lasting relationships that allow you to enjoy happiness and success in life.

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