Source with thanks from lifehack.org
All of you will definitely agree that communication is a very important of our life and with good communication life can be made more fulfilling more easily. But many of you tend to look at communicating as saying, talking, sharing etc. and not so much the listening part. You have to understand that listening is probably the more important one half of the communication. Let’s try and understand why we should be better listeners and how we can listen better with tips shared by the author in the article below. Team RetyrSmart
Better communication needs better listening skills. Here is how to
What Are the Benefits of Effective Listening?
Effective listening will reward all parties involved in many ways, here are a few.
Effective Listening Builds Trust
This is probably the most important benefit of effective listening.
Remember, when someone feels like they are truly being listened to and understood, it’s only natural for them to begin to develop trust for the person listening. Or if the relationship already has a basis of trust, it only serves to strengthen it.
Productivity Goes Up
This is key in the workplace. Just think about how much more productive you could be in your job if there was all-around clear communication. That alone would help it shoot through the roof!
Add in working with a group of folks who are effectively listening and understanding each other and you’ve got a recipe for super productivity.
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It almost goes without saying that if you are communicating with effective listeners regularly, it will forge stronger relationships. Again, the ability to feel like you are being truly heard and understood creates tighter and more meaningful relationships.
Greater Problem Solving
Remember that old saying two heads are better than one? What that means is that most of the time, 2 people can solve a problem better than one person on their own.
The logic is simple: two people can look at the same problem or challenge from different angles, different sets of eyes, and different experiences from which to draw on. When people are listening and understanding each other, the ability to solve problems is greatly enhanced.
Now let’s get to the really good part – 7 keys to effective listening.
7 Keys to Effective Listening
- Be Attentive and Relaxed
Probably the most important part of effective listening is being attentive. Be present and at the moment with the person you are listening to.
Follow along with the words and thoughts they are sharing to build the full picture. Do your best to block out distractions, whether that’s street noise or your internal thoughts.
You don’t want to be attentive to the point of staring unblinkingly and not moving at the person while they are speaking. That can get unnerving. You want to temper your attentiveness with being relaxed as well. This will help the other person feel more at ease.
And speaking of staring unblinkingly at the other person. . .
- Maintain Eye Contact and Face the Other Person
You’ll want to keep regular eye contact with the person speaking and have your body facing towards them.
Again, the regular eye contact doesn’t mean you are staring directly at them without batting an eyelid for minutes on end. It means, in general, you are keeping your eyes focused on them and their eyes.
You don’t want your eyes darting to your phone or your computer screen. That takes away your attention.
You’ll also want to have your body facing the other person most of the time. It’s a non-verbal way of communicating that you are paying attention to and listening to them.
- Listen and Paint a Picture
While you are listening attentively, allow your mind to paint a mental picture of what is being said. This could be a literal picture in your mind or it may be more abstract involving concepts and ideas.
When you combine listening attentively with your mind creating a mental picture, it will help you gain greater clarity around what is being said, as well as build a more lasting impression in your mind.
- Do Not Interrupt
One of the surest ways to create choppy communication is by interrupting.
Think about when you’ve been in a verbal fight with someone and you both keep interrupting each other to get your point across. Nobody ever gets to fully vocalize about what is upsetting them.
The same concept holds true here. Don’t interrupt the other person while they are talking. It conveys the message that you don’t care what they are saying and that you think what you have to say is more important than what they have to say.
Speaking of having your turn to talk. . .
- Ask Questions to Clarify and Understand
When the person you are talking to stops talking and indicates you can take a turn, you want to use your words to good effect. The goal here is to ask clarifying questions that will help you understand fully what the other person is saying.
Again, wait until the other person stops talking before asking your questions. Do not interrupt them to inject your point of view or ask off-topic questions. Asking tangential type questions can easily take the conversation down a completely different path.
We see this happen all the time during everyday conversations. Someone is telling us about an adventure they went on and mentions a restaurant they went to. Someone else then asks a question about that restaurant and BOOM, the conversation turns to a discussion of restaurants.
Don’t be that person.
- Keep an Open Mind
Another of the 7 keys to effective listening is to keep an open mind. It’s important to listen with an impartial mind and not mentally judge the person speaking to you.
To truly hear someone and to give them a chance to fully share what they are talking about, you must keep an open mind. If they say something that gives you pause or raises some concerns, keep it to yourself for the time being.
Now is not the time to be forming judgments or making assumptions based on what is being said. Keep your mind open to allow them to speak freely and for you to listen fully.
- Try to Feel What the Other Person is Feeling
Now we get to the part where you are working to empathize with the speaker. Do your best to put yourself in their shoes and see the situation from their vantage point.
To get a good depth of understanding, you’ll need to do your best to put yourself in as close to a mind-set as the other person is. This isn’t easy, and it does take work.
If you’ve gotten to the point where you are feeling happy when they seem to be happy or sad when they are, you’ve done a great job of really understanding what they are telling you to the point of feeling similar.
As a reminder, listening is half of all communication.
Being a good listener takes practice and some work, but it’s well worth it. You’ll gain greater clarity with your interactions with other people you interact with. This benefits both your professional and personal life.