The Art of Listening for Beginners!

The Art of Listening for Beginners!

If you asked someone the question, “Are you listing to me?” you may hear this reply, “yes I heard you with my two ears.” This is not a silly question most of us may hear what someone is saying, however are we really actively listing? The answer is no we are not. Next you’re having a conversation with someone; try to play close attention to how you’re actively listing.

Some of the things that you will notice taking place in your mind are the fallowing examples.
1. Familiarity: I have heard this before, really are we going to go over this again.
2. Assumption: I know what someone is going to say before they complete their thought with you.
3. I’ve got this: You already have an answer prepared before you even get to hear what they are going to explain to you.

At this point when there is no room for active listening and the only thing there is room for is complete shutdown from the other person who is trying to reach out to you. You see most of these reactions are deeply embedded in our mind and it becomes an automatic response, like a habit. Active listing is by far the most important part of the active listing. You may wonder why? The simple reason is you will not be able to reach your goal in an effective way.

Here are some fun facts for you presented by the University of Missouri; stress the importance of listening as a communication skill. A typical study points out that many of us spend 70 to 80 percent of our waking hours in some form of communication. Of that time, we spend about 9 percent writing, 16 percent reading, 30 percent speaking, and 45 percent listening. Studies also confirm that most of us are poor and inefficient listeners. Further research suggests that we remember between 25 percent and 50 percent of what we hear. That means that when you talk to your boss, colleagues, customers or spouse for 10 minutes, they pay attention to less than half of the conversation. Most of what we do in active listing and communication is so automatic that we don’t even really notice it. I know what you’re thinking, so now what can I do to become a more active listener? As I always say it’s always about taking simple steps and not being so hard on yourself.

Remember you are breaking old habits and with that takes, patience, commitment, and consistency.

Pay Attention
Give the speaker your undivided attention, and acknowledge the message. Recognize that non-verbal communication also “speaks” loudly.
• Look at the speaker directly.
• Put aside distracting thoughts.
• Don’t mentally prepare a rebuttal!
• Avoid side conversations.

 Show That You’re Listening
Use your own body language and gestures to convey your attention.
• Nod occasionally and give verbal cues life yes, and uh huh.
• Smile and use other facial expressions.
• Open and inviting body language.

 Provide Feedback
Our personal filters, assumptions, judgments, and beliefs can distort what we hear. As a listener, your role is to understand what is being said. This may require you to reflect what is being said and ask questions.
• Reflect what has been said by paraphrasing. “What I’m hearing is,” and “Sounds like you are saying,” are great ways to reflect back.
• Ask questions to clarify certain points. “What do you mean when you say?” “Is this what you mean?”
• Summarize the speaker’s comments periodically.

My suggestion is choose one skill a week focus and practice it then go on to the next skills, you will be surprised how much active listing can impact your life.
Nassim Sana, M.C, C.C
Beauty in Truth Life Coaching