Speaking is an important communication skill, but listening is equally important!
Making use of active listening; paying close attention to what someone is saying and communicating, to imrpove your communication skills. It involves giving your full attention to whatever the speaker is saying without interrupting or making judgements.
Here are some ways of bcoming a more active listener:
- Make direct eye contact
- Use body language, such as leaning in toward the speaker, that shows you are listening and giving your full attention.
- Use signals, such as nodding, to show that you are involved and interested.
- Do not interrupt the speaker
- Put away prejudices, images, or assumptions that you have of the other person so you can focus on what he or she is saying.
Techniques for Active Listening:
Being a good listener is important to healthy relationships. When you listen to others, you show them that you care about what they have to say and how they feel. Active listeners use several techniques to show others that they are listening. These techniues include:
In reflective listening, you summarize what the other person has said. This shows that you have understood what was intended.
Clarifying involves asking the speaker what he or she thinks or how he or she feels about the situation being discussed. It also involves you asking questions to make sure you have fully understood what is being said.
You encourage the speaker when you signal that you are interested and involved. You can show your interest by nodding your head or saying something like “I see”, “That is interesting” or ” I understand”.
When you have empathy, you are able to imagine and understand how someone else feels. Empathizing is feeling what the other person feels as you listen. For exampe, if a friend tells you how disappointed he was when he did not get his dream job, you are likely to share his disappointment. Keep in mind that sometimes emapthy is not appropriate, such as when what the person is saying goes against your values.
Info: About 45% of the average person´s communication time is spent listening and only 30% is spent speaking. Whereas, reading occupies an average of 16% and writing accounts for only 9% of a person´s communication time!!!