Bite Your Tongue! 10 Ways to Be an Effective Listener By Joy Fisher-Sykes © 2005 all Rights Reserved
Have you ever spoken to someone and then felt need to say, “Did you hear what I just said?” Why did you feel need to ask? Probably because listener didn’t provide you with feedback you needed to know you were heard.
Listening is most important, yet often most neglected, communication skill. In fact, ability to listen is often rated one of top five abilities employers seek in their staff. It’s also certainly highly sought after in people nearest and dearest to our hearts.
Here are 10 ways to be an effective listener:
1. Recognize difference between hearing and listening * There is a very distinct difference between hearing and listening. Hearing is to merely perceive sound. * Listening is mindful, conscious act and desire to hear, comprehend, and response to others. 2. Be willing to listen * Begin with a commitment to listen - be open minded and consider other points of view. * Listen regardless of whether you agree or disagree with what’s said. Resist urge jump to conclusions; be defensive or argumentative with speaker. 3. Be attentive * Stop what you’re doing and give speaker your undivided attention. If it’s not a good time for you, defer conversation. * Ignore desire to multi-task and selectively listen (only listening to bits and pieces of information). * Remain in moment for duration of conversation – don’t tune in and out or pretend to be listening when you’re really thinking about where to go on your next vacation. 4. Show respect * Acknowledge others with your body language - face speaker, look interested, and make eye contact. * Avoid ending conversation abruptly. 5. Empathize * Be sensitive, compassionate, and understanding – realize it