The most basic and powerful way to connect to another person is to listen. Just listen. Perhaps the most important thing we ever give each other is our attention –Dr. Rachel Naomi Remen
Listening is the key to effective communication and ability to precisely receive and interpret communication messages. It has been seen that messages are easily misunderstood without the ability to listen effectively. Listening skills is so important that organizations have started focusing on providing listening skills training to their employees. It won’t be a surprise if you say good listening skills can lead to better productivity, reduced mistakes, innovation within the organization due to exchange of information and greater customer satisfaction.
Active Listening is an organized way of listening and responding in a way that speaker knows you’re truly interested in their thoughts and ideas. Active listening focuses on being non-judgemental and with an emphasis to listen the speaker instead of solving the issues in a go. Active listeners don’t jump to any solution or conclusion while speaker is still speaking and having their part of conversation. Active Listening takes a lot of concentration and determination. It doesn’t happen in a go; it requires a lot of practicing. We can gradually develop the ability to effectively communicate with others.
There are some key techniques you can use to develop your active listening skills:
- You need to give your undivided attention to the speaker and acknowledge their ideas
- Be engaged in the conversation by making proper use of body language and gestures
- Provide feedback whenever necessary. This may require you to understand and interpret whatever has communicated by the speaker. You need to ask questions to have healthy discussion
- Be open and honest in your responses. Respond appropriately with clear thoughts and ideas
- Face the speaker and maintain eye contact as non-verbal communication also plays an important role
- Keep your mind open, listen the speaker without judging his ideas
- If you have a separate thought process don’t become frustrated. Seek to develop a picture from other person’s logic
People view the best listeners to be those who asks questions and suggestions in order to get new insights. In all these conversations, giving healthy feedback is very important which should flow from both the parties without becoming defensive. While many of us have a thought process that good listener absorbs whatever the speaker is saying but findings show that a good listener bounce back with more ideas. They absorb your ideas while energizing your own thought process and clarifies the ideas.
Effective listening has become a rare gift of time. To be an active listener, you need to go beyond the words and form a clear picture of the thoughts and ideas conveyed. In order to be an active listener, you need to increase your motivation to listen. This motivation can be for any reason- desire to build a relationship, solve problems, reducing time wastage within the organization, resolve conflicts, improve productivity or to exchange viewpoints.