How effective are your listening skills?
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How effective are your listening skills?

Have you ever been accused of not listening? Do you find it hard to concentrate when someone else is trying to communicate with you?

When we recognise that communication and verbal communication relies upon it being understood properly, we start to understand the importance of listening. There are three different types of listening, Surface, Conversational and Active.

Surface listening is where we do something else whilst we are listening. For example, when your staff ask you a question whilst you are working and you carry on working whilst answering. As a result, you might agree to something that had your attention been solely focused on the speaker, you might have not agreed. This means that the communication has not been effective.

Conversational listening, the next level is where rather than listening to what is actually being said, we are just waiting for the other person to draw breath so that we can get our point across!

Active listening is where we have and adopt a deeper level of listening and communication and this is where we can improve our relationships and reduce conflict. It is structured and non-judgemental.

We want to encourage you to improve your skills, so we have produced a top 10 list to help you do this:

  1. Prepare to listen. Clear your mind so that you can give your full attention.
  2. Avoid pre-judgement. Do not pre-judge the speaker because of their appearance or occupation. Do not jump to any conclusions before hearing what is said.
  3. Be open-minded. Hear what is being said, and appreciate the speaker’s point of view.
  4. Establish eye contact. This shows that you are listening.
  5. Watch for signals. Pick up important points by watching the speaker’s posture and gestures and by listening to the intonation in the speaker’s words.
  6. Extract the main points. Pick out and repeat to yourself the key words or phrases. Make notes which will be a reminder afterwards. Develop your note- taking skills by jotting down the main points of meetings or lectures.
  7. Don’t interrupt. Try to avoid interrupting someone mid-sentence. Not only is this off putting, it is also rude. If this happens, apologise and ask the speaker to continue.
  8. Avoid distractions. Try to concentrate on what is being said and don’t be distracted by anything else happening around you. Help yourself by trying not to doodle!
  9. Switch on. It is easy to switch off during a lecture or meeting. Be aware of when this is happening to you and make a conscious effort to ‘switch on’ again.
  10. Give feedback. You can give feedback by nodding, by smiling, by adding appropriate ‘yes’ and ‘no’ feedback, by asking a question, or by adding comments of your own.

If you’ve enjoyed reading this article and would like to find out more, why not join us on the Level 3 Award in Education and Training which covers this and many other related topics?

For more information contact Marie O’Donnell at Marie@professional-futures.com .

Access this and our other blogs on https://professional-futures.com/blog/www.professional-futures.com

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