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Listening; An Asset

Communication is one of the most important life skills, through which you can transfer, receive & understand the message easily. It takes years to master communication skills, but you can keep on improving your communication skills over time.

There are various ways to work upon it, and the following blog has discussed one of the crucial aspects of effective communication, Listening.

Listening is the process of accurately receiving and interpreting the said information while communicating. It is not just about being quiet while the speaker is speaking. It is the ability to perceive and understand the message effectively. However, people often confuse listening with hearing.

First, let’s understand the difference between them.

Hearing is a physical process, which includes the sound entering our ears. It is an involuntary process of receiving any sound or vibration. It does take any conscious effort, and only one sense, i.e., our ears are active.

Whereas listening includes active use of mind and every sense to conduct effective communication. It is a conscious act, which needs physical & mental concentration to receive & comprehend the message.

Listening is an integral part of communication. If the receiver is not an active listener, there are chances that message can be misinterpreted, and the speaker might feel frustrated.

Listening should be active and not passive. Active listening is essential for the listener to be positively and entirely engaged in the conversation through paraphrasing and reflecting on what is said. It can help to avoid conflicts in personal & professional life.

Although we try to be active listeners; however, some barriers restrict the constant flow of communication. Few barriers to effective listening are:

  • Sometimes the difference of opinion, outside distractions, etc., can divert the speaker & listener’s focus and break the flow of conversation.

  • Often our concerns overpower our focus, which shifts our attention from the speaker.

  • Sometimes excessive information overwhelms us, which might affect our productivity.

Tips for Effective Listening

  • Try to keep the focus on the speaker and not on your surroundings, phone, etc., while listening.

  • Try not to interrupt the speaker often in between the conversation. Wait for the speaker to finish before putting your opinion.

  • We know that actions speak louder than words. Hence, try to keep your body language relaxed & positive so that the speaker feels that you are actively present.

  • Try to withhold your judgment of the speaker’s message or mould it neutrally so that the speaker’s feeling is not hurt.

  • Try to stick to the topic speaker wants to discuss and not steer the conversation to something else.

  • Try to be on the same page as the speaker while listening by giving frequent and cautious responses.

  • Try to understand & reciprocate the speaker’s emotions and not listen for just the sake of it.

Listening becomes more & more crucial as we climb up the ladder whether professionally or personally. Active listening can help to solve most of our problems and build strong relations.

Notice your behavior in a conversation, and start working on your weak points to become an active listener.

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