Listening Skills I

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Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around, Leo Buscaglia.

We have two ears but only one mouth. Some people suggest that this is because we should spend twice as much time listening as opposed to talking. Others suggest it is because listening is twice as hard, Unknown.

The human being is a social animal, and therefore interpersonal communication skills are vital to success in life, both personally and professionally. They include non-verbal communication, active listening, dialogue, questioning, silences, etc.

Authentic and active listening do not only project a positive image of ourselves, but also enrich our lives, avoid misunderstandings and therefore prevent many unnecessary conflicts in our relationships. In addition, the speaker feels that we are interested in what s/he is saying, in other words, we make others feel valued and cared about. We learn from new ideas, insights, and original observations, we get essential feedback for our performance, work, etc. This all leads to smoother, more positive, and richer relationships.

manlistening

However, our modern society is full of noises and distractions. Everything is urgent, everything is for yesterday. It is not the best environment for active listening. We can see how people are constantly interrupted by questions, comments, and remarks, by mobile devices and social media that overload them with loads of information and messages. People get easily distracted and bored after just a few minutes of listening.

How to listen actively?

    • Keep silent, stop talking. It’s as simple as that, you need to pay attention to what other people are telling you. Listen quietly, avoid interrupting people.
      listen
    • Remove distractions and noise. Do not consult your mobile phone, check your email account, social media, etc. It is not the moment for watching television or reading a newspaper either. Choose a suitable place for communication where you can both speak comfortably. It should be an area without too much noise, distractions, and interruptions.
      distractions

      If you want to say something important and the other person is watching television, checking the mobile phone, or reading the newspapers and “pretending to listen to you,” stop talking immediately. Ask him/her to stop doing what s/he is doing and listen to you, find another time where this person is available or have a better attitude or, as hard as it sounds, find another person who offers you the attention you deserve. You are worth it!, you deserve someone paying attention to what you have to say.

    • Active listening is an essential part of empathy. As we listen, we can put ourselves in someone else’s shoes and begin to understand that person: his/her points of view, circumstances, needs, feelings, choices, etc.

empathy

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Author: Anawim

I am a social activist. I have two Bachelor's degrees, Maths and Computer & Software Engineering. I also have a Ph.D. in Psychology. I have written nine published books, four scientific articles, and five scientific presentations. I simply want to contribute to making a difference where it counts, so that we make the world a better, more sustainable, prosperous, and fairer place. I am always willing to give free talks and lectures about the social problems that exist in our world today.

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