Saturday, 16 May 2015

How Well Do You Listen?

By Neil Graber

Listening is one of the most important skills you can have. It means being attentive to the other person and doing more than just creating the impression the conversation is important to you. You need to show the other person that you value what they are saying by giving them your full attention. Your ability to listen will have an impact on your effectiveness at work and home as well as your success in relationships with others.

One would think we are better listeners than what we really are considering the importance of hearing what others say. Some studies identify we hear somewhere between 20 to 50% of what another is sharing with us. Most of us would not want our relationships or our success determined with those odds.

By becoming a better listener, we will understand others better, have more facts upon which decisions can be based, will avoid some conflicts as we hear all the facts presented, and will better relate to what the other individual is feeling. I'm sure you have heard the term 'active listener' before, but let's take a few moments to review what that really means.

Pay attention to the other individual - focus on the speaker and ignore the distractions around you. Don't attempt to guess where the person is going with the conversation or how you will respond. Watch the speaker's body language as well as listening to their words.

Demonstrate you are listening - with your own body language and gestures show the other individual you are completely focusing on their words. At appropriate times, provide small verbal comments so they know you are listening..

Give feedback to the speaker - to ensure you are understanding the message they are sharing, repeat certain information back to the speaker or ask clarifying questions.

Don't interrupt - allow the speakers to keep their train of thought and finish their message.

Respond once they have finished talking - at the end of the message, the speaker is most likely looking for your response. When providing your comments, be open and candid, but also be respectful and caring in your words.

When listening over the telephone or the computer, you may also wish to jot down notes to later reference when providing feedback or asking questions. As you do not have the ability to see the person speaking in this case, listen more carefully to the words and how they are conveyed.

As in the case of listening over the phone, to truly hear what people are saying, you need to also listen to what they are not saying. Listen carefully to detect feelings or unsaid words in the conversation, or if certain words are given extra emphasis and others less emphasis. Each may impact the overall message more than just the words that are actually said.

Being a good listener will require concentration and perhaps breaking some of the listening habits we possess today. For the most part, focus on the other individual and what they are saying, wait for them to finish, and think before you begin to rattle off a response. Effective listening skills are critical to your success in creating and keeping relationships. Now perhaps we will understand why we have two ears and only one mouth.

About The Author
Neil Graber, Life Style Mentor and Successful Entrepreneur, is helping many become the next success story. Whether you're looking to create an extra few thousand dollars per month, be an ex-corporate executive, or the next millionaire Mom, Neil can assist you to create a second stream of income and greater peace of mind. visit : Success

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