Why Exert Effort to Become an Active Listener?
One of the effective tools that you can add in improving your performance as well as skills is to become an active listener. According to research, an average person is capable of only remembering 25 to 50 percent of what he/she hears. Those are quite alarming figures if you consider how much time you spend every day listening and talking to each other. Your ability of responding effectively is hindered if you can only hear and understand 50 percent of what you are being told.
If how you are performing your job or how you are managing key relationships is vital to you, then improving your ability to listen actively is a skill that you should further improve on.
You will be able to uncover three ways to become an active listener in the next paragraphs.
Number 1. Practice – for this one, you are expected to practice self discipline but rest assure that the payoff would be enormous. In your next conversation, you must make a concerted effort of not only hearing words to be spoken but also, listen to the message that you’re told.
In other words, you have to block out everything that’s going on around you. Many of us can be distracted very easily and that’s a fact. Whether we are looking at photos in someone’s cubicle or office or there are other conversations going around us, it is so easy to lose focus on the conversation we have at hand. Remember that to become an active listener, focus is paramount.
Number 2. Be engaged physically in what the speaker says – yes we know that it’s critical to have eye contact but don’t forget the importance of facial expression too. It’s good to nod every now and then and tell the speaker that you have understood their message. Smiling at the appropriate parts of the conversation will help the speaker as well know that you are truly listening. In other words, you should be giving feedback to the speaker.
Number 3. Defer judgment on what is being said – until you were able to understand the full context of the message, keep on doing this. Perhaps, using the correct terms or words aren’t used but allow the speaker to finish talking. You must put your personal opinions aside for a moment and absorb as much information as you can. You need to know that editorializing and constantly interrupting are conversation killers which you should avoid at all cost.
Do not rush things in acquiring active listening skill because this is something that will take your time and effort before it becomes innate in you.