Understanding basic principles of listening (II)

Last time we bega looking at the issue of listeig. We saw that we spend time talking but the question is do we listen as we ought to. If we really listen as we ought to there will be minimal misunderstanding among people. If we listen well when people talk, arguments will be brought to the barest minimum.

We can hear people talk but it doesn’t mean we are listening. Listening is different from hearing. Hearing is the physical ability to perceive sound with your ears. If you are not hearing impaired hearing is an automatic involuntary action.

Listeig is a skill to be acquired.

How to master the art of listening.

Listening is a skill to be acquired and here are some basic principles to effective listening.

1)      Attention:

  • Always give the speaker your full undivided attention by directing your mind to what is being said.
  • Avoid distractions – concentrate and focus on the speaker and what is being said. Keep your mind on the speaker and the subject of discussion.

2)      Attitude:

  • Patience to hear the person out, don’t jump to conclusions.
  • Willingness to properly understand what is being said (avoid biases, prejudices, stereotyping, etc).
  • Encourage speaker to speak by showing you are listening.
  • Be motivated to listen so your response can be accurate. Do this by understanding the benefits of listening among which are:
  1. a) Ability to make informed decisions and right judgment.
  2. b)   Getting new insight and knowledge.
  3. c) Getting good advice.
  4. d) Avoiding misunderstanding and misrepresentation.
  5. e) Understanding other people’s perspective.
  6. f) Ability to respond appropriately.
  7. g) Acquiring the reputation of being a good listener.

3)      Assessment:

The whole idea of listening is for you to respond accurately and effectively and this will only happen if you assess what you hear properly.

“Listening well and answering well is one of the greatest perfections that can be obtained in conversation.” François de La Rochefoucauld

Assessment involves evaluation, understanding and making the right decision, choices and judgment which can only happen by listening. When people don’t listen well their assessment of what is communicated will be wrong and consequently their response will be wrong also.

We must not just hear people talk but listen to them .

We must develop and keep improving our listening skills to be effective in life.





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