This is another interesting topic that we discussed in the first day of my communication training. We often assume that communication is more on conveying message. But let’s not forget that receiving and understanding the message is equally important.
Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.
-Stephen R. Covey
We have two ears and one mouth, so we should listen more than we say.
– Zeno of Citium
Here are 10 ways to improve our listening skills:
- Before begin to listen, start with a deep inhale and exhale quietly.
- Listen and relax. Don’t even think on how to reply. Our job now is to listen and gather data.
- When the other party pauses, summarize our understanding then ask whether we got it right so far.
- Don’t multitask while listening. Or, don’t ever multitask on anything.
- Show empathy. We might have an contrast opinion, but can we found common ground?
- If we get confused, immediately raise our hand then ask question
- Maintain proper eye contact (if the culture permits)
- Always remember what is the goal of this communication. This goal should guide us along the communication to make sure we are on the right track
- Listen with open mind. Put aside any biases or prejudices that might affect on how we hear things.
- Pay attention to things which are not said. Does the body language seems to contradict what has been said? If yes, then make clarification if necessary.
I hope it’s useful.