How to Master the Art of Listening?

1,721 Views Updated: 27 Nov 2017
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How to Master the Art of Listening?

Being a good listener is a skill that can do miracles for you. It can not only help in boosting your career but also have a great impact in making your personal life run smoothly. Moreover, neglecting the significance of effective listening can have severe consequences. As a businessperson, you could lose money, and as an individual, you could lose your precious relationships. This is how vital it is to focus on improving your listening skills.

But while everyone keeps on dwelling on how important it is to be a good listener, we rarely come across ways and that too effective ones that tell us how exactly we can go about being one. So if you are looking for sure shot tips that will certainly help you master the art of listening, then you have landed on the right page, and we are going to tell you everything you need to know right here and now. Are you ready to become a master of listening?

#1. Maintain Eye Contact

Eye contact is not only crucial for listening, but it is also a vital part of every conversation. Apart from showcasing your confidence in yourself, it is also a way of showing your respect for the person you are speaking to. Apart from that, our eyes are an important part of our body language that says so many things about us. For instance, your eyes could indicate that you are not feeling too well today or your eyes could indicate that you are hiding something from the person you are interacting with. Therefore, it is important to take care of the eyes when you are interacting with someone face to face, even if you are merely listening.

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#2. Never Interrupt The Speaker

How does it feel when you are speaking and someone interrupts you right in the middle of it? Not good, right? So try to avoid the same when you are on the other end of it. Whenever someone is speaking to, wait for them to finish before you start speaking what is on your mind. Even if you have questions that you wish to clarify in order to get a better understanding of the matter, never interrupt the speaker and break his or her flow. Giving speeches, especially public ones, is not easy at all and the person in front of you might be struggling. So, let them carry on with their flow and wait for them to invite questions when they plan.

#3. Interpret What You Hear

Do not mistake hearing for listening. Hearing is only a physical phenomenon which happens when a message falls on your ears. However, listening is a more delicate process than that. It involves hearing as well as interpretation of the message that has just been received by your brain through your ears. So, if you want to master the art of effective listening, then start by comprehending the message when you hear something and not just letting it go.

#4. Clarify

It is uncommon to see that the entire message that a speaker is trying to convey gets understood by the listener in its entirety. We are sure that this happens to you as well. So, the next time this happens, do not hesitate from mentioning to the speaker what you are having a doubt with and need a clarification for. Maybe what you are hearing does not agree with something that you have heard in the past. At that point, you should put your point forward and then give the speaker the chance to clarify.

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#5. Ask Open-Minded Questions

Speakers love it when their audience gets involved in the conversation and what better way to do so than asking questions. However, merely asking questions is sometimes not enough. These have to be open-ended so that these open the door for an insightful discussion on the matter. For instance, ‘how to master the art of listening’ is an open-ended question where the speaker can share its beliefs, thoughts as well as experiences. Though close-ended questions can get you the answer to the precise question you are thinking about, these are merely interrupters that do nothing more than breaking the speaker’s flow.

#6. Treat It Like A Test

You will find yourself getting better at listening if you start treating it like a test. Imagine that whatever is being conveyed to you will be asked in an exam and you should try to comprehend as much part of the message as possible. In the beginning, you will have to make some effort but sooner than you realize it, it will all start coming naturally to you and being a good listener will become a part of your DNA.

#7. Pay Attention To Non-Verbal Communication

To master the art of effective listening, you not only have to be able to comprehend the verbal message that the speaker is trying to convey to you but also have to keep an eye out for the non-verbal message that is being transferred to you consciously or unconsciously. The body language conveys a significant part of a message. The hand gestures that we make during speaking and postures we maintain while talking to somebody convey a great deal about the listener, their mood and the message that they are trying to put across.

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#8. Create A Suitable Environment

As you may very well know, the environment is crucial in communication. There can be factors in the environment that can create an obstacle to the efficient transfer of the message from the speaker to the listener. When you know how to eliminate these factors from the environment or how to manage them at least, you become a better listener.

#9. Follow Up

Does it not feel nice when someone remembers what you said and brings it up in your later conversations? If you want to master the art of listening, then make it a point always to circle back and do a follow up on important issues and key points from the previous conversations. Furthermore, it is also a great way to establish credibility with the speaker as it tells that you not only listened to what was being said earlier, but also remember it.

#10. Make The Speaker Feel Heard

A good listener always makes the speaker feel heard. Merely listening to the message is not enough, speaker has to know that the message he or she is attempting to transfer to the audience is being received and being received well. To be a great listener, your speaker must know that you are involved in the conversation even though you are not saying anything in return. A simple nodding of the head is mostly enough for this purpose. In addition to that, like we have said before, an eye contact can also be sufficient for this purpose.

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#11. Keep Growing As A Listener

The art of listening is not something that you learn just once. It is a skill that you have to hone through consistent practice. Even after you know what you have to do, you have to keep getting better at it till you feel like you have become proficient at it.

So, this is how you master the art of listening and impress every speaker with your listening abilities. Make sure that worry, anger or fear does not come in your way of effective and efficient listening.

Tell us how you think one can master the art of listening to your comments below. We would love to read what you have to say.

(Image Courtesy: 1. YouTube, 2. Brian Buffini, 3. Sivana east, 4. Pazoo: LinkedIn(Featured Image Courtesy)

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