Why You Should Learn to Listen Effectively
We live in a world that is full of numerous articles, books and teachings on public speaking, effective speaking techniques, how to give a good speech, stories about great speakers etc. There are shockingly no major books, articles, seminars or stories of such on ‘the listener’ or “how to listen effectively”.
This creates a world where everybody is a speaker with nobody to listen to the words spoken or messages that passed across.
“Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.”
– Winston Churchill
What if we had more listeners?
What is the use of talking when no one listens? I believe just as the Turkish proverb puts it that:
‘If speaking is silver, then listening is gold’
The world will advance at a faster and more effective pace; and standard of living will be better if more people listen effectively.
Mark Twain once said that
“If we were supposed to talk more than we listen, we would have two tongues and one ear.”
This is a gentle hint that we should listen more than we talk. Bernard M. Baruch backed that up when he said
“Most of the successful people I’ve known are the ones who do more listening than talking.”
Talking when someone is listening
How did you feel the last time you spoke with someone who was actually listening?
Well, I imagine the world a better and more conducive place for us all to live in. This is no wonder that E. H. Mayo concluded that
“One friend, one person who is truly understanding, who takes the trouble to listen to us as we consider a problem, can change our whole outlook on the world…”
Listening and Hearing: Any difference?
Listening is the ability to precisely receive and interpret messages in the communication process or simply the act of hearing attentively.
Although, listening is not the same as hearing. It is actually more. To listen effectively, you need to use more than just your ears.
Explaining further, hearing is the range within which you hear a voice, whereas listening requires more than that: it requires focus.
Listening requires paying attention not only to the story, but also to how the speaker tells it, the use of language and voice, and how the speaker uses his or her body. It means being aware of both verbal and non-verbal messages.
Why Listening is important
Listening is key to all effective communication. Without the ability to listen effectively, messages will be easily misunderstood and communication will break down easily.
Effective listening requires you to pay attention and the use your other senses – not just hearing the words spoken. It brings about an increased sharing of information that in turn can lead to more creative and innovative work.
Good listening skills can prevent misunderstandings, help create a positive impression and maintain a good reputation.
Your ability to listen effectively depends on the degree to which you perceive and understand these messages.
An effective listener
It is also important to note that a good listener has the ability to accurately receive and interpret messages. An effective listener listens to what is said and what is left unsaid or only partially.
An effective listener stops thinking about himself/herself during a conversation.
An effective listener helps the speaker to feel free to speak and he does not judge the speaker. He removes all distractions and focus on what is being said while trying to understand the other person’s point of view.
An effective listener is patient and impartial. He is aware of the speaker’s tone. He listens for ideas and takes note of the non-verbal communication and this includes the speaker’s gestures, facial expressions, and eye-movements.
Effective listeners are like precious gems and are to be treasured because it takes a great man to be a good listener.
Taking it deeper
“Deep listening is miraculous for both listener and speaker. When someone receives us with open-hearted, non-judging, intensely interested listening, our spirits expand.” – Sue Patton Thoele
A listener is a person of wisdom because there is as much wisdom in listening as there is in speaking. A listener is also a good companion and friend. He is that rare person who ask how we are, and then waits to hear the answer.
A leader must be a good listener. He must be willing to take counsel. He must show a genuine concern and love for those under his stewardship.
In conclusion, to listen effectively is a skill that underpins all positive human relationships. Spend some time to develop your listening skills.
Olaniran Olalekan is a passionate writer and business enthusiast. He is the C.L.O of www.icelebit.blogspot.com, an online platform he uses to inspire people to success with great educative and motivational articles.