We can often hear that in these modern times there is better communication and more ways to connect. Sadly, I can see the opposite. The fast paced living and the availability of gadgets are causing “genuine communication” to be extinct. Nobody ever listen thoroughly to each other now. Everybody wants/can multitasks that they want to do something else while listening. Some examples would be listening to news broadcast or your favorite television show while you are cleaning the house or talking to your friend using any Voip software (like skype) while playing computer games. Well they hear the words but that is very different from listening.
The question would now be, what would it take to really listen? To listen is to understand the meaning of each word you listen to, it means to absorb that very idea the other party is trying to relay to you. Failing to listen means failure in communication. And this is the cause of arguments, fights and misunderstanding. You see all those negative things can be prevented by learning to listen; even world wars can be prevented if we only learn to communicate on a deeper level.
Learning to listen needs attention and focus. Only in this way can we have a heartfelt communication where we can truly share with one another. And believe me, if you learn this skill then you can improve relationships and have a better life. Here are some tips on how to improve listening.
Tip #1: Eye Contact Is A Must. Eye contact is a proof of focus, like an eagle watching its prey (but not that intense). So look at the person while they’re speaking because if you don’t, they will have the impression that you don’t care about what they say. Make eye contact and listen if you care.
Tip #2: Don’t interrupt. Interrupting is rude; and to master the art of listening, you need to just accumulate all the feedbacks and thoughts that want to come out of your lips and wait for your turn to give feedbacks. Let the person say everything they want first and if they are through, then you can say your side. The goal is to give the spotlight to them, not you. In return, they would definitely give the spotlight back to you when it’s your time.
Tip #3: Ask questions. Listening is not about staying quiet 100% of the time, sometimes it is also good to ask questions so that you can fully understand what the speaker’s message is all about.
Tip #4: Show You Understand. Listening in communication also means that you should show some signs that you understand or not the message. If you do understand, you should response yes”, “yeah”, “mhmm”, “okay” or simply a nod from time to time; If you don’t it is better to make a confused face gesture so that the speaker would know and the problem will be solve fast.
Tip #5: Just listen. On average, our minds think around 800 words per minute. This only means that our mind can wander fast and lose focus. This can be avoided by “just listening”. Do not let any other thoughts cross your mind especially negative judgments. Negative judgments are shut off triggers, if you start having them, then you restrict your mind from listening. So your goal is to be free and open minded and “just listen”. Nothing more.
Tip #6: Remove the distractions. There’s a reason why people are asked to keep their mobile phones in silent when there’s a conference, a session or even at the movies. This is because it would be hard to listen if your phone is buzzing nonstop. This is just a sample of distraction and there are so many others. Remove these distractions and once again, show you care.
So there you have it, some of the tips on how to listen and understand. I hope that we help you improve your communication experience. Just for an extra tip, If you are really serious about mastering the art of listening, then try to observe other people when talking and interacting with each other. You can by then see irritating and rude things people do while they listen or you can also see some of the right ways people do. Make a checklist of these annoying habits and the effective habits. Furthermore, you can also survey people about communicating properly.