Listening Skills 101


Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.  

Stephen R. Covey


Communication is often overlooked as a vital skill. Without devoting the necessary attention to listening, it’s easy for miscommunications and misunderstandings to arise; resulting in confusion or disappointment. To ensure your messages are being heard correctly, take time when speaking with others by carefully attending both their words and tone of voice—and avoiding interruption at all costs! With this mindful approach you can hone effective communication skills that will keep misunderstanding away now and into the future.

Implement these strategies to strengthen your listening skills:

  • Conversation is an important form of communication and should be treated as such. When someone has something to say, focus your attention fully on them so that you are able to comprehend what they have said in its entirety. If multitasking is unavoidable due to external obligations, explain why this needs to happen and ask the speaker for their patience while completing those tasks first before having a conversation with them may help improve understanding between both parties. Additionally it's best not to try conversing while being distracted by other activities like watching television or playing games – these act as barriers which prevent us from listening effectively .
  • Subtly showing interest in a conversation can stimulate meaningful dialog and assuring the speaker that they're being heard. Body language is key - it’s important to turn your body towards the communicator, rather than away from them which shows focused attention. Even simple acts like refraining from multitasking when listening demonstrates respect for what's being said!
  • Establishing an attentive presence through eye contact is essential to effective communication. Looking into the eyes of a speaker conveys that you are listening, and your full attention is given in this moment- no matter what culture or background one comes from. Doing so helps bridge understanding between people, as well foster meaningful conversations.
  • Strive to stay present while the other person speaks and allow their words full focus. This way, you can better understand what they are trying to articulate so that when your listener pauses in discussion, you have a chance to clarify by repeating back the points made. Take time afterward for verification - re-stating key concepts helps ensure accuracy of understanding which lends itself toward effective communication!
  • As a listener, actively engaging the speaker by restating their remarks allows an opportunity to ensure that both parties are on the same page. Partners in relationships should remember this fundamental piece of communication and put forth effort into using it daily - even if there is familiarity with one another's words - as it will ultimately help strengthen their bond.
  • Listening is an art that can profoundly transform how you communicate with people. If practiced regularly, it will not only benefit you but also enhance your relationships and help make a lasting impact on those around you. So allow yourself to hone this skill - put aside distractions, be present in the conversation and pay attention!

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