Wisdom From Books

5 tips for effective listening

Posted on: January 30, 2011


As a child we all learn to talk but we only learn to listen when our parents tell us that they won’t buy us a particular toy and then…….. what happens?

Most of the children start crying!

Do we learn how to listen effectively?

During my professional career, one of the things I have learnt is to listen. I would like to add that listening is not hearing or if you remain silent and wait for your turn to speak, it is also not effective listening. One of the ways in which effective listening may be explained is the way in which we listen to the other person fully, analyze what is being said, ask gentle question to get full picture and then frame our response or utterance.

5 tips which we may consider to develop effective listening skills include:

1. Get comfortable with silence

Why silence?

Silence mean not to think about shooting the answer when the other person stops speaking but silence is a state which enables a person to think, analyze and re-think before speaking.

Silence has its own language!.

Once a person is silent and let his / her thoughts focus on an issue and start analyzing with open mind, better solutions come into consideration – try practicing silence and enjoy the comfort!

2. Listen for differences

At time we don’t want to listen to someone who is saying something which we don’t want to listen. Lets try to listen to differences with patience. People have their opinions and we have ours. Believes take shape over the period of time and are influenced by the nature of education, environment and experience. The way we think is different from the way other people may think about the same situation or event.

Therefore, differences must be tolerated and understood.

3. Listen between the words

At times, people might not be saying what they are saying! Their body language may be sending some signals which are not consistent with their speck. Therefore, we should try to listen between the words. Context and content – both are required to be taken into consideration.

4. Ask smart questions

We may try to listen better by asking smart questions and gather more information before proposing any solution. Instead of giving opinion, one of the ways to listen effectively is to get clarifications and develop better understanding of the issue at hand.

5. Break the ‘I’ habit and ‘shoulding’

At times, we try to explain our position to the person who is speaking to us. We may also tend to advice people instead of asking questions and leading the person towards solution by asking the right questions again and again and getting the person to think and analyze. This may sound to be difficult first but once we try practicing it, we will see wonders!

Happy listening!


8 Responses to "5 tips for effective listening"

nice information about listening skills? thx 4 helping me?

[…] 5 tips for effective listening (wisdomfrombooks.wordpress.com) […]

i think u should write something about body languages..

Thanks Ameer – you may read one of the earlier posts from this link: http://wp.me/pHUHq-an
It was about Allan Pease book on body language – hope you will find it interesting!

great. since 70% of communication is listening and 30% is speaking either verbal or non verbal. an excellent contribution…

Thanks for appreciation Nasir – In my view, in order to become a good speaker, one should be a great listener too.

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