Developing Better Listening Skills

by robertr

November 23rd, 2009

One of the largest components of effective communication is a simple one.  Just listen.  Truly listen to what the other party is saying.  Respect, credibility, and trust are gained when one is an effective and an honest listener.  Listening thoroughly will also serve to allow one to sincerely respond to what the other person is saying.  One’s response will be on target and relevant, and will prove that you have truly been listening. 

There are many types of listeners, who may or may not be aware of their own communication styles, and this can be detrimental not only in the business world, but in the rest of one’s interactions throughout their daily routines.  The key is to objectively and honestly pay attention to oneself, and discern whether or not one may be one of these kinds of listeners. 

If one is preoccupied, they may project visual indications of that, such as indirect eye contact.  When one is constantly looking around, one gives the impression that they are not paying attention.  If one notices this about themselves, they will need to focus on putting other tasks or thoughts aside, making certain that they are maintaining direct eye contact at all times. 

If one should find that they are what is know as an ‘out to lunch’ type of listener, this simply means that focus again is not being maintained.  Daydreaming will be read on one’s face, again, as lack of interest.  As with the pre-occupied person, the daydreamer must bring the focus back to the person and to the topic at hand.  Again, eye contact is extremely important, as well as the conscious effort to ask questions and bring yourself into the conversation.

Some people may find themselves interrupting from time to time, or a lot of the time.  While this just may be a symptom of perhaps being very excited about the topic at hand, it gives the impression that what the other person is saying is not that important.  Once one notices this about themselves, it is very easy to change.  Should one find themselves interrupting, one must catch themselves, apologize and let the other person continue with what they are saying. 

The ‘engager’, this is one type of listener, that is truly communicating.  They are not distracted, they are fully engaged with their bodies, their minds and their hearts.  In the business world today, this is a must.  The public is very discerning when it comes to where they will take their business, and effective listening skills with ensure a company’s survival, even in the difficult economic times of today.

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  1. Debbie /

    I definitely think that truly listening is very rare in our society. A lot of times people think just sitting and listening to someone shows you care. But a person wants to be heard. If someone offers a “hearing” ear rather than a listening ear, they give someone validation that what they are saying is truly valuable. This reminds me of teenagers. They get frustrated with adults because they don’t understand them. As adult you may be listening, but you sometimes just don’t get it. Teenagers may be talking in a different language, but they want to be heard. I really can’t blame them, honestly.

  2. Jeff Blackwell /

    In addition to everything that has already been mentioned I would add that listening without bias (ie; position of observer) is a key ingredient in listening to understand.

  3. Rip Walker /

    If you show you listen, you show you care. There is a difference between listening and hearing. Hearing is physical and is a reaction and activity that our body does through our ears to send signals to our brain.

    Listening is when our brain acknowledges those signals along with the non-verbal communication that people offer each other. Our brain must also recognize and start to comprehend what has been communicated.

    It takes work to listen and communicate.

    Rip walker

  4. wnysalestraining /

    I just found your blog. Great articles and well written. Thanks for all the info.

  5. Donna Branson /

    Being an engaging listener is sure an art form, but like any form it can be taught and practised….

    Remember this, and proactively strive to become a better listener. You will be amazed at what this will do for your personal skills. Everybody will want to talk to you when you get this right. Practise makes perfect, so get out there and start doing it….

    Take care.


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  7. Shelly /

    I am sharing this article with my teen!

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