A couple of days ago I was having a conversation with a good friend of mine. We were pondering how each one of us would benefit from improving one’s listening skills. So here we go:
Listening accounts for 50 percent of communications, making it one of the most important skills you can have. Listening especially how well you listen plays major roles on the nature of your relationships with others as well as your effectiveness in performing any task at hand. Also, if every individual practice active listening, it would help in learning, to sets expectations, avoid conflicts as well as gather varieties of information.
- We listen to learn.
- We listen to understand.
- We listen for enjoyment.
- We listen to obtain information.
You would think we’d be good at it, given all this listening we do!
On the contrary, most of us pay little attention to this important process and tend to take it for granted. We wrongly assume that every individual knows how to listen and that listening is a passive activity.
Research suggests that we recall between 25 and 50 percent of what we hear. That means that when you talk to your spouse, friends or colleagues for 10 minutes, they listen and pay attention to less than half of the conversation. Turning the situation around reveals that you are not hearing the whole message either. You hope that the important parts are captured in your 25-50 percent, but what if they’re not?
Clearly, we can all benefit from activating and improving our listening skills. This will greatly improve an organization’s output, the relationship between employees, managers, CEOs, and recruiters. As with any skill, mastering the skill of active listening requires practice. In the next paragraph, you will find a quick self-test for your listening skills followed by a couple of great points in starting your practice.
Start today to become a better communicator by improving your communication skills, improve your workplace productivity, and develop better relationships.
5 Steps Towards Mastering Active Listening Skills
- Show That You Are Listening
- Nod occasionally.
- Smile and use your facial expressions to communicate that you are listening.
- Encourage the speaker to continue with small verbal comments like ‘yes’, ‘hmmm’, and ‘uh huh’.
- Pay Attention
- Don’t interrupt.
- Look at the speaker.
- Give the speaker your undivided attention.
- Provide Feedback
- Reflect what you have heard.
- Ask questions to clarify and further understand.
- Defer Judgment
- Do your best to stay neutral.
- Don’t interrupt with counter-arguments.
- Allow the speaker to finish the point before asking questions.
- Respond Appropriately
- Be honest, open and candid.
- Always be respectful, treat the speaker in a way you would like to be treated.
Please note that this is just the tip of the iceberg. Listening is one of the skills that can always be improved upon no matter how great you already are. Fortunately, there is no better day than today to reflect on your active listening habits. The backbone of every organization is great communication. As the organization grows so also, the opportunity for miscommunication increases and it could be very damaging on such organization as well as their consumers.
Also, the manner in which sales professionals communicate with the consumers could have an effect on any organization. So in what manner do the departments and your employees communicate? Are there any form of misunderstanding that needs to be resolved to prevent miscommunication. Do you need help to improve your communication skills? Rebecca Sargeant of Curta has been coaching people to help improved their communication skills, you can sign up for our newsletters at HERE or you can send Rebecca an email HERE
Time to read: 4.8 minutes
Value: You’ll become a HERO