Listening can be difficult. It requires us to tune into more than the actual words and includes gestures, body language and the ability to focus our attention and concentration on someone other than ourselves.
How often have you talked to someone on the phone and realized that they were multi-tasking and preoccupied during the conversation.
Were they really listening? Probably not.
Are you someone who occasionally tunes out when taking to another person because you are anxious to come up with your opinion and thoughts? Are you really listening? Probably not.
Do you tend to occasionally tune out when someone is talking to you and do not hear what was said because your mind drifts to something totally unrelated? Are you really listening? Absolutely not.
There are four key communication skills for improving interpersonal relations that require listening. They are:
o The ability to listen without judging.
o Show understanding of what has been said
o Acknowledge and accept another’s point of view
o Refrain from imposing your personal beliefs on someone else.
Sometimes someone just may want to vent and are not interested in hearing feedback or advice. Being able to passively listen to that person’s words with undivided attention and without verbally replying is a powerful “non-verbal” message. If it is done with an open heart, and empathy for that person’s feelings, this may allow him/her to draw out their own access to inner wisdom, as well as the ability to go within the self for exploration and guidance.
Simple and concise verbal responses to another’s words convey the idea you are listening by saying, expressions such as; “Oh”, “I see”, “Interesting” and other non-judgmental messages.
If you truly want to respond, communicate your willingness to continue listening with statements such as; “Tell me about it” or “Would you like to talk about it”?
Giving the person talking “feed back” requires an active listener to only feed back what he thinks that person means, not giving advice and only clarifying what he or she is unsure of. Active listening encourages free expression of troublesome feelings. It is not a taking a deposition from the person speaking. “Can you tell me more?” or “Let me see if I understand what you just said”, are typical phrases for active listening.
The ability to be an effective listener needs to be natural and realistic. Learning new skills for open communication takes practice, time and awareness. For more information on this subject visit http://www.anger411.com