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Effective listening

An importantpart of the communication process is listening. However, most of us are not very good listeners. In fact, some researches suggest that we listen at only 25 percent efficiently. Such poor listening habits are costly in business. Appointments must be rescheduled, contracts renegotiated and so on.

To improve listening skills we must recognize barriers that prevent effective listening. What are the techniques that may be effective in improving listening skills?

Barriers to effective listening

What barriers and distractions can prevent you from hearing whats said?

These barriers to listening may be physical, psychological, verbal, or nonverbal. Let us consider each of them.

1. Physical barriers include hearing disabilities, poor acoustics, and noisy surroundings.

2. Psychological barriers. Each of us has an idea of what is right and what is important. Everyone brings to the communication process a different set of cultural, ethical and personal values. If other ideas run counter to our preconceived (, ) thoughts, we tend to tune out the speaker and thus fail to hear.

3. Language problems. Unfamiliar words can destroy the communication process because they lack meaning for the receiver.

4. Nonverbal distractions. Many of us find it hard to listen if a speaker is different from what we view as normal. Unusual clothing, radical hairstyle, speech mannerisms can prevent us from hearing what the speaker has to say.

5. Thought speed. Because we can process thoughts over three times faster than speakers can say them, we can become bored.

6. Grandstanding. Would you rather talk or listen? Naturally, most of us would rather talk. Since our own experience and thoughts are most important to us, we grab the limelight in conversation. We sometimes fail to listen carefully because were just waiting politely for the next pause so that we can have our turn to speak.

The following techniques will help you become an active and effective listener.

  1. Stop talking. Learn to concentrate on what the speaker is saying, not on what your next comment will be.
  2. Control your surroundings. Close windows and doors, turn off radios and noisy appliances.
  3. Establish a receptive mind-set. Expect to learn something by listening. If the message is complex, think of it a mental gymnastics. Its hard work but good exercise to stretch and expand the limits of your mind.
  4. Keep an open mind. Be fair to the speaker. Hear what is really being said, not what you want to hear.
  5. Judge ideas, not appearances.Concentrate on the content of the message, not on its delivery.
  6. Hold your fire. Force yourself to listen to the speakers entire argument or message before reacting.
  7. Take selective notes. Record important facts that must be recalled later.
  8. Provide feedback. Let the speaker know that you are listening. Nod your head and maintain eye contact. Ask relevant questions at appropriate times.


Date: 2015-01-02; view: 3601

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