We always communicate with each others. Communication is a two way process, where we send and receive messages verbally and non- verbally. Listening is a vital part of communication, but many people pay scant attention to it. In order to listen effectively, we have to improve listening skills. Effective listing skills help us to interpret messages accurately and respond to them appropriately.
Effective listening has several benefits. Effective listing helps us to build trust and respect. We have to trust people around us to maintain a better relation with them. In order to trust others, we should be able to understand them. To understand, we should listen to them carefully. When we trust them, we respect them too. So listening is an effective tool in building trust and respect.
It also helps us to create peaceful environment around us. People have an overriding desire to share information with others. It is a basic human nature. So people need someone who can listen to them carefully. This is very important in conflicts situations. When people discharge their stress by telling their grievances, it reduces their level of stress.
An effective listener collects more information than an ineffective listener. For example, as managers we need to collect information about our working environment. People keep vital information in their mind. If we want to collect them from people’s mind, we have to get them from their mouth. When we listen to people carefully, it encourages them to talk and share information in their mind with us. So effective listening helps us to collect information from other people.
There are some barriers to effective listening. Negative attitude toward speaker affects effective listening. We assume that we already know what the speaker is going to say. Then we are not ready to listen to him, and we disregard him. Our negative attitude affects effectiveness of our listening.
Sometimes we listen to others to get information to confirm our assumption. Then we collect information that is relevant to confirm our assumption, and we disregard information that is not relevant. So we fail to fully understand people and situations. Selective listening affects listening effectiveness. Lack of listening skills is a major cause of ineffective listening.
Effective listeners encourage others to talk. We can encourage speaker by indicating him that we are listening to him carefully. We can communicate with the speaker non- verbally: we can turn toward the speaker, look at the speaker, and nod our head. When the speaker feels that we listen to him carefully, it encourages him to talk.
You also should provide feedback to speaker. For example, we can reflect him and ask questions. When we repeat vital points of his speech, we reflect him. We give him a feed back, and he knows that we understand him. Similarly, we can ask questions that encourage him to explain his point further. At the end of his talking, we can summarize the main points of his speech. But we have to be honest when we provide feedback.
It is also vital to avoid mantle arguments with the speaker. We have a tendency to argue with speaker mentally while he is talking. Mantle arguments distract us from complete listening. So do not argue mentally with the speaker while you are listening to him.
Listening is a vital part of human communication, and effective communication skills help us to improve understanding and build trust. Inability to listening carefully leads to misunderstanding. We can communicate effectively by improving listening skills.