Listening Skills

Importance of listening

In today’s world where we are always surrounded by stress and anxiety disorders, communication becomes really important. But it is seen that we spend less time listening to each other and as this skill has faded. We have no time for others and we ignore the fact that listening skills are vital for good communication to take place.

Having good listening skills can improve the bond between any kind of relationship. It can solve problems and can definitely avoid many arguments. Being a good listener can make you a mindful person with better productivity.

What Is Listening Skills?

Listening skills are a part of the communication process which requires you to correctly receive messages and interpret them. It makes communication very effective. Any of the listeners is not paying attention, messages can be misunderstood.

If there is any communication skill that one wants to master, then it should be Listening skills. The practice of active listening can make you stand ahead of others in the team. It can lead you to make fewer mistakes. Listening Skills can also make teamwork creative and innovative, also it keeps the team together. Basically, it is the building block of success.

Why Are Listening Skills Important?

Listening Skills

Listening Skills is a vital part of communication. It is a conscious effort we make to understand the messages of the sender. It is about patience and understanding. If the listener tries to understand what the speaker is saying, it becomes easy for both parties and increases efficiency. Listeners should not interrupt in between as it disturbs the speakers and the thoughts are not conveyed in the way they were planned.

Benefits Of Listening Skills

There are many benefits of listening Skills, and they are:

1. Builds Understanding

When you have a habit of listening, it becomes easy for people to trust you. They confide in you and can share their things with you very easily. You make them sure that you would listen to them and you won’t jump to conclusions. This makes them feel comfortable with you which builds understanding.

2. Broadens Your Views

The way you look at life and certain things might be different from others. You only know your view until you listen to other points. Listening to what others think and how they look at life, allows you to have different perspectives. It makes you think differently and understand other’s points. It may also give you new ideas, some of which you have not even thought of before.

3. Makes You Patient

You can’t be a good listener in a day. Developing good listening skills takes time. In the process, you also become patient. Listening to others without judging them and letting them express themselves makes you calm and patient.

4. People Approach You

As you become a person who listens to others, people find it easier to communicate with you. It gives them a feeling that someone is there for them.

5. Increases Knowledge

The more you listen, the more information you grab, and the more knowledgeable you are. If you are well known for the instructions, you will perform better. You will start completing your tasks efficiently and this will make you successful.

6. Helps In Problem Solving

In the workplace, a leader should always try to listen to his employees. Here the listening will solve the problems faced by the employees and makes the organization a better place for them. Being a leader, you will understand what needs to be changed and worked on.

7. Saves Time

If you listen actively, you will avoid any misunderstandings. But if you lack listening properly, you will miss out on many important points. This may make you lose out on time.

What Makes You A Good Listener?

Good listeners make sure that they understand what others are trying to say even if the messages from the other side are unclear. Good listening skills not only involves interpreting the verbal messages but also the non-verbal expressions of the other person.

Listen

Active listening also involves making sure that the other person feels that he or she is heard and that they have shared their feelings properly without hesitation.

You should maintain eye contact while listening, or just nod your head wherever you feel like. If you provide feedback, the other will feel that he is being heard.

Listening Skills V/S Hearing Skills

Hearing can happen without you making a conscious effort for it. It an automatic brain response. We are always surrounded by sounds and we hear those sounds. For example, we are many times surrounded by the sound of car honks, construction, etc. we often ignore these sounds. Hearings are basically accidental and involuntary.

Listening skills

Listening skills can be known as an activity you do consciously, which is more of a focused effort. It is the giving of concentrated attention to the speaker to understand his messages. That is not only understanding what the person is telling in the story but also how the person uses his body language. In other words, it is understanding the sender’s verbal and non-verbal messages.

What are Verbal and Non-verbal Signs of Active Listening Skills?

Verbal Signs of Active Listening Skills

1. Remembering

It is good if you try to remember what the other person mentioned while talking. Understanding and remembering the details in the conversation can encourage the person to continue. It also tells you that you were paying attention during the conversation.

2. Clarification

This activity involves asking questions of the speaker to ensure that the messages which are received are correct. It allows the speaker to expand on certain points.

3. Questioning

The listener can ask relevant questions. This can show that the listener was paying attention and take an interest in what the speaker is saying.

4. Positive Replies

Use the words ‘good’ or ‘yes’ will indicate that you are interested in the conversation. Don’t overuse it as it can annoy the speaker.

Non-verbal Signs of Active Listening Skills

For non-verbal signs, you should keep in mind that you should not overdo it so that it does not make anyone uncomfortable.

1. Smile

Genuine small smiles which are combined with the nodding head make the speaker understand that you correctly interpreted the information. It can also be used as a sign of agreeing.

2. Posture

A good posture can ensure that you are listening to the speaker. Slightly tilting your head or resting the head, on one hand, makes a good posture while listening. Don’t do anything which makes you an inactive listener.

3. Eye contact

It is good to look at the speaker while he or she is talking. Looking somewhere else makes you look inattentive and uninterested in the conversation. This can make shy speakers feel confident. Understand how much eye contact is necessary for a situation.

Barriers to Listening Skills

Barriers to Listening skills

It can sometimes become difficult to concentrate on communication and especially when it is slightly long. Some of the things which do not let us concentrate may be beyond our control. It is good to know about these barriers. Some of them are:

1. Noise

Noise is a very common barrier to Listening skills. It can disturb the communication it interferes with the ability to understand the message. It can distract you from the sender’s message and can misinterpret the information.

2. Attention

Being attentive can vary from person to person. And humans can be focused for a limited time. Your mind constantly thinks and sometimes it zones out which is pretty normal. This barrier can be as simple as feeling thirsty in the middle of listening. But it can act as a serious barrier once you can not register what the speaker is telling.

3. Listening to Fear

You can be anxious about registering the wrong information due to the inability to understand a message.  It can happen because sometimes the information is complex for you to understand or the accent used can be different from the speaker which makes it difficult for the listener.

4. Preconceived Ideas

Good listening is when a person listens without keeping any judgment in mind before listening. Biased listening is when a person does not listens carefully or interrupts the speaker only because he or she thinks that they know the information they are going to listen to. The preconceived opinions on a topic can disturb the communication and is not a sign of good listening. Having opinions about a topic and having those opinions different from the sender is normal. But here good listening takes place when a listener keeps his opinions aside while listening.

Ques-1 How can someone learn Listening Skills?

Ans. A person can adapt listening skills by following these steps:
a) Pay attention to the speaker.
b) Ask the speaker to repeat or slow down if you don’t understand the message.
c) Listen to the keywords.
d) Practice active listening skills.
e) Don’t let your mind distract.

Ques-2 What are the types of Listening Skills?

Ans. The four types of listening skills are:
a) Empathic
b) Appreciative
c) Comprehensive
d) Critical

Ques-3 What are the stages of Listening?

Ans. The listening process has been divided into five stages:
a) Receiving
b) Understanding
c) Remembering
d) Evaluating
e) Responding

Ques-4 What are the important 3As of active Listening Skills?

Ans. The three important A’s:
a) Attention
b) Attitude
c) Adjustment

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