Listening… a lost art? Not really. According to sociology authorities the act of listening to understand, not to reply, is subject matter that is not taught in main-stream academia.
According to Webster, the following terms mean:
· Listen: give one’s attention to a sound.
· Understand: sympathetically aware of other people’s feelings.
· Reply: To say something in response to something someone has said.
The value of being an authentic listener include, to:
· Build trust
· Elevate efficiency and effectiveness
· Learn new things
· Resolve issues
· Prevent accidents
· Shape relationships
According to the Language Café, most of us have never been taught to listen. Effective listening is skill-based and must be learned and practiced. Approach listening with a positive attitude… with the intent to understand the other person completely.
The Research Group complied wisdom from various sources to create the following tips for active listening:
Maintain eye contact and be attentive.
Don’t judge, don’t ponder, don’t jump to conclusions… be open to what is being offered. If you have a problem focusing, repeat what is being said in your mind.
Concentrate on the big picture… create an image of what is being shared. It’s important to get the overall point of the conversation. Statements can be easily misunderstood, especially when they differ from your own opinions and cause you to listen competitively.
Don’t interrupt!! Don’t impose your solutions before you know what is being said. What you are conveying is that what you think/say is more important/accurate/interesting. This is not a contest. Wait… wait… listen… until the person is finished speaking. You can ask the speaker to repeat themselves for clarity, but do so during a pause or in between sentences.
Feel what the speaker is conveying. Observe their non-verbal cues and those things not being said, but felt. Practicing sympathy or empathy for what the speaker is offering will deepen the conversation and future interactions.
Summarize what was said so a clear understanding is the result. It not only ensures accurate follow-through, but demonstrates to the speaker that what they spoke was heard and understood.
“No one is as deaf as the man who will not listen.” -Ancient Proverb