Improve Listening Skills: Three Simple Tips To Listen Effectively For Better Communication

Published: 13th August 2009
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There's a big difference between listening and hearing. Hearing is just letting sound pass through your ears. Listening, on the other hand, requires you to understand what you are hearing.



Unfortunately, people have grown indifferent to conversations, letting words slip by without really understanding what they mean. I think it's time people start learning ways to improve their listening skills again, don't you think?



Having good listening skills comes with a lot of benefits. For one, it helps you handle any situation with ease. You might be surprised at what you can deduce based on the words a person uses. And another, people appreciate it when they see that you are really listening to what they have to say. Here are some of the ways to improve your listening skills.



Tip # 1 To Improve Listening Skills: Stay Focused.



Don't let your mind wander when another person is speaking to you. Keep your eyes on the person talking to prevent your concentration from drifting off. Remember that every word counts.



Even when the topic is boring, pretend you're interested. That way, you won't be easily distracted. I sometimes find myself in situations wherein the speaker is less than lively.



One particular example is of a convention I went to a few years ago. One of the speakers was an old man who was talking about past successful activities of a certain organization. I normally don't stick around during such boring opening remarks, but I needed to be there for an article I was writing.



Instead of tuning him out, I told myself that I was really interested in X organization. That way, I was able to focus all my energy into listening and understanding what he was trying to say.



Tip # 2 To Improve Listening Skills: Don't Interrupt.



Don't interrupt a person especially when he/she is still talking. Aside from being rude, interrupting breaks the flow of the whole conversation.



If you have a question, wait until that person has finished talking. You never know, but your answer might come up in the next five minutes of the conversation. Besides, it's easier to improve your listening skills when you're not interrupting somebody every ten seconds.



Tip # 3 To Improve Listening Skills: Stop Stereotyping.



Don't box a person into a stereotype. Doing so will only distract you from what he/she is saying. Your mind will already have created an opinion about the said person and that will greatly affect your listening skills.



Not only will you be distracted from a good part of the conversation, you will also develop an unhealthy bias towards the person or his/her message.



If you want to improve your listening skills, always keep an open mind. If you find it difficult not to cast stereotypes, pretend that this is the first time you're hearing about it.



When it comes down to it, trying to improve your listening skills is about respect. It's respect for the person who is talking and respect for his/her actual message. It's also about clear communication. You can communicate much better if you know how to listen effectively. I hope these tips have helped you get a better ear for words.



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