Since listening skills lead to improved customer satisfaction, enhanced productivity, sharing more information leading to innovative work, many companies run listening skills trainings for their staff. To be a good listener you should to what is said of course, but most importantly listen to what isn’t said or what is intended to be said.
Principles of listening:
- God has given us 2 ears and one tongue so we realize that we should listen more than we talk. Therefore, when listening, we mustn’t talk. We must not interrupt or continue the sentence when someone else is speaking. All we have to do is to wait until the other person finishes, than we get the chance to ask or speak.
- We should also concentrate on what is being said. Forget about anything else and focus on the intentions of the conversation and mainly on the message.
- Show the speaker that he is free to speak anything; after all, he needs to talk, so never forget that. Use facial expressions or encouraging words for the other person to go on. Keep eye contact, not staring, to show that you are aware of what he/she is saying.
- Do not distract yourself with any possible interruption, such as mobile phone, papers, fingers… Or else, the speaker will notice that you are not interested and not focused on what’s being said.
- Make sure you do your best to understand the speaker’s opinion. Walk in their shoes and try to figure out how they are thinking. Even when the other person said something you don’t agree with, you should wait and discuss the subject with an open mind.
- When the speaker pauses, it doesn’t mean that he/she has finished speaking. You must have patience and give the other person the chance to think about what he/she’s going to say net.
- Do not prejudge the other person. No matter what is being said, focus on the message itself. We all have different ways to say things; some of us are shy, others get nervous; some of us sit still while speaking, while others can’t stop moving. Ignore how things are being said and concentrate on the content.
- A good speaker uses different tones and volume to attract the audience and keep them interested. These will help you differentiate between what is really important and what has less importance in the speaker’s message.
- Do not listen to certain parts of what is being said. Link all the ideas and words together and focus on the overall image. This can be done by focusing, ignoring interruptions and being interested.
- Body language is also important in listening. Use your eyes to interpret the other person’s gestures and expressions, and do not depend just on your ears, for several ideas and information are delivered by non-verbal communication.