Listening skills

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Listening skills

  1. 1. Listening skills Being a good listener is something that can be developed, practiced, and grown.
  2. 2. Listen for what they're feeling, not just what they're saying: People don't just communicate by their words. Good communication, and good listening, involves reading what's going on behind the words. Know that you won't hear everything you need to hear just by listening with your ears. Develop your ability to understand the emotions behind what they are saying.
  3. 3. Focus, think, and concentrate. Try not to get distracted while someone is talking to you. Give them your undivided attention. Make sure that at the end of the conversation, you are able to repeat what they said, including their feelings about what they are communicating to you.
  4. 4. Ask follow-up questions As you listen and remember what is being said, develop questions to further your understanding. If you don't understand something, don't just nod your head and go on with the conversation. Ask about it. Learn about what the person is communicating to you.
  5. 5. Maintain Eye Contact Eye contact communicates back to the person who is communicating to you that you are listening, and you are trying to understand. If you don't keep eye contact, you risk communicating that you are uninterested or not listening. Maintain eye contact except when it is culturally unacceptable.
  6. 6. Do not Fidget When you fidget, look at the clock or phone, or appear to be rushed, you're not really listening. You're waiting for the conversation to be over. Instead, hold still and set all your attention on what the speaker is communicating to you.
  7. 7. Avoid Pre-judgment Never think to yourself, "she shouldn't think that way." This is a wall that will keep you from really hearing the words and emotions that the person who is speaking is trying to convey. Validate what is being said, and don't pass judgment until all is done.
  8. 8. Don’t feel Superior Don't ever try to 1-up the person who is communicating to you. The people you are listening to want you to listen, not to try to prove that you are better than them. Listen, validate, and be what they need you to be.
  9. 9. No quick fixes This listening skill is a little trickier, as sometimes the people you are listening to actually do want you to fix their problems. On the whole, however, it is a better general rule to avoid giving quick fixes to the problems that the person is communicating to you, and instead just listen. Men, women mostly do not want your quick fixes. Again: listen, validate, and be what they need you to be.
  10. 10. Don’t give unwanted advice Advice that isn't asked for always sounds like criticism. If you are listening, and listening well, the person who is communicating to you is likely to eventually ask for what you think. If they don't, then you are off the hook, and free to keep your mouth closed (unless the advice is necessary to keep the person safe). Try to apply these listening skills to all of your interpersonal interactions, and watch your retention of what is said increase and your effectiveness in understanding those around you jump up incredibly.

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