In today’s fast paced world, communication is extremely important. In fact, in business it is critical. However, communication is equally important at home when interacting with your own near and dear ones. It is also important during social interactions, when you meet people. There is no doubt that your speech should be very articulate. The speech will communicate the ideas that you want to convey. However it is even more important to be an active listener!
Communication is always is a two way process. Your articulate speech will go in vain if you are not listening to the person you are speaking to. You can even listen to the person with your eyes. Body language tells all. Facial expressions clearly denote whether the opposite person is listening to you or not. This means that the best vocal capabilities will not be effective until these are matched with equally attentive listening abilities.
Now let us examine how to be a good listener. Some of the qualities of a good listener are as under:
- You should listen as a friend. Often your opinion will be different from the person who is speaking. We are all individuals and therefore no two persons think alike. Listening as a friend enables reconciliation of contradicting opinions.
- Further more, it is necessary for the listener to make the speaker appreciate that you are an attentive listener. When somebody is speaking try not to fidget with anything on your table. You should not gaze at the news paper / magazine on your table. Even looking at the speaker with a lost expression, will convey an impression that you are brooding over something else and not listening to what is being said. Thus you should not only listen actively but you should also show to speaker that you’re listening actively.
- Encourage the speaker to join you in the comfort zone. When you have removed all distractions and you make the speaker aware that you are listening to them, you must encourage him to open up by your friendly nodding of the head smile wherever desirable and maintain a comfortable eye contact. While speaking on telephone you can use words and expressions like – ‘yes’,‘go ahead’, ‘hmmm’… etc. These are the voice symbols which tell the other person that you are actively listening during the phone conversation.
- Act but never react. Whenever the discussion is held around heavy states one as to be extra careful. If the speaker raises the voice it is necessary for you to maintain calm. However you must never give an impression that anybody can take you for granted. This can be achieved by not reacting to any unsavory remarks by the speaker. Instead you should use such words and expressions which will make it explicit to the intruder that you are unshakable. It is this state of calmness which will unnerve your opponent. The expression with ‘Act never react’ simply means to use your mind and reply appropriately, firmly but without raising your voice if the opponent has raised his.
- You need to comprehend whatever you have listened. It is always a good idea to summarize and repeat briefly the points you have just heard. It will help you to understand all the points clearly; and in case there is any confusion the same will be clarified there and them.
- As a good listener you have a right to ask questions to the speaker. The speaker will never object to relevant questions which are briefly asked.
To conclude, good listening skills is not a rocket science. It just requires an empathetic attitude and an attentive mind, and forms that basis for long lasting relationships.