Many people focus more on building up their communication skills and they neglect focussing on their listening skills. But, let me tell you listening skills are as much important as communication skills. So learning how to be a good listener in the workplace is important.
Firstly understand this thing that listening and hearing are not same. They have different meanings. Hearing means when you listen anything which is happening around you where as listening means when you listen to someone with full concentration and focus. A good listener is a person that is needed in almost every companies or business. A good listerner can take a company to higher level than a bad listener can do. So, never ever say that listening and hearing are same things. Now the question is How to be a good listener in the workplace? Read on to become a good listener.
Why is it important to be a good listener in the workplace?
When you become an active listener it will allow you to strenghthen your bond with your boss, spouse, family and anyone else. You will be able to build up a trust with someone. When you are a good listener then you can do the work as it told by your superior and it leads to lesser mistake. So, now we should know about how to be a good listener in the workplace.
5 Stages of listening:
Listening have many stages but remember that your goal must be to reach till the last stage of listening i.e. stage 5.
Stage 1: Ignoring:
The first stage is ignoring. When you are not listening at all what the other person is saying or conveying to you.
Stage 2: Pretending:
You all must have been a pretender at some point of your life. It happened with me too in my school days in which I used to pretend like I am listening with my full concentration but only the inner me knew the truth. So, prentending is that stage where you just pretend to have interest about what other person is saying, but you actually are’nt interested.
Stage 3: Biased or Selective listening:
This stage takes place when you hear only what you want to hear. You only listen what you expect.
Stage 4: Sympathetic or Attentive listening:
This stage happens when you pay close attention to what other person is saying. You care about the other person and you show this concern to them and express your sorrow for their ills in life and happiness in their joys.
Stage 5: Active or Empathetic listening:
When you go beyond sympathy i.e. when you focus more or pay closer attention to what the other person is going through and what they are feeling.
This stage will fullfil only when you actually feel what the other person is feeling. So, it requires excellent discrimination and closer attention.
10 Habits you should develop in order to enhance your listening skills:
To enhance your listening experience and to get the most out of what you hear then add the following habits mentioned below:
1. Focus more on the key words, and try to frame a summary of the topic through it.
2. Dont try to interrupt when the other person is speaking, as it leads to confusions and main information may not get delivered.
3. Most importantly dont think anything i.e irrelevant otherwise you will just wont be able to get the main intention of it.
4. Try imagining what the other person is saying as when you create a picture of what is said in your mind then you can remember it for a longer period of time. Capture everything what you heard.
5. Be careful not to make elaborate notes or you will miss out on important points being made by the speaker.
6. Try to mentally summarize the key points that a speaker is making.
7. Suspend judgment when listening. Do not let our bias, prejudices and differences with the speaker clutter our listening. If we listen with intent only to rebutt, we would possibly miss out on listening to some valid arguments of the speaker. It is also possible that we hear only what we want to hear and not listen to the speaker from his/ her perspective.
8. Responding to the speaker is a motivator to listen more. Response comes in the form of eye contact, smiles, non verbal clues like a nod, clapping, thumbs up.
9. Always attend or listen with a mindset of an explorer not that of a prisoner. If you will listen like a prisoner then trust me it’s of no use, it will only lead to time waste because at the end you don’t know anything or you just know the small parts of the conversation. How to know if you are a prisoner? If you want to attend a lecture because you need the attendance, you are prisoner of the lecture. If youbtell yourself that let just explore what the lecture has to offer, you will definitely find something meaningful, knowledgable, and interesting in the lecture.
10. Focus on ‘wanting to hear’ and then adopt the above habits and you will become a very good listener because if you would not focus on wanting to hear then nobody can help you to improve your listening skills. We can’t put things in your mind by coercion.
5 Tips to help you develop effective listening skills:
1. Give nonverbal feedback:
Now people closely listening to you and they are doing things like making eye contact l, head nodding and they are showing you through their facial expressions that they are paying attention to what you are saying. Now I am not suggesting that you necessarily fake this but if you take a genuine interest that what they are doing, you want to make sure you show it. Now the alternative is that you probably seen is people give you like a stone face and there are just neutral or blank faces and it doesn’t really seem like they are listening, it seems like they are judging you. So you must want to be aware of your facial expressions and you should give positive nonverbal expressions that show that you are listening and that’s good feedback.
2. Give verbal feedback:
As the person is talking and at the right moment he says things like I hear you or I know where you are coming from or that makes sense and some kind of short verbal orders that shows them or gives them feedback that you are listening to them. It could be as short as UH HUH or YEAH and even that long gives them a clue that you are paying attention to what they are saying.
3. Listen to the big pictures:
This is a huge effective listening tip because a lot of times we get so caught up in the details infant this is a barrier to effective listening. But you must listen to the big pictures and that will help you to stay focused that what they are saying but not at the detail so much. And if you are in a work-related thing then you must listen for the overall idea or the big picture idea and if you are in a social situation like talking to your friend then you must listen to the big picture emotions. For example: Let’s say that they are frustrated or they are happy. So if you want to connect with their emotion and when you are listening to that big picture emotion then you are going to show them that you are much more focused and listening to what they are saying.
4. Take concise talking turns:
When you do have the occasion to talk then make sure that your talking turn is concise. You just make sure that it must be limited to about a sentence and then bounce it back on to them like ask a follow-up question or you give your opinion and bounce it back to them with another question and that will help you to understand the conversation and makes you a good listener.
5. Take action and follow up:
A lot of times people miss out on this easy opportunity. If you are in a professional setting then you gonna let know the person that what you are going to do about it like if they share an informative thing with you then you must follow-up or follow-up with an email or send them something that tey ask for! This will show the other person that you listen to them and you do care of them and also guides you about how to be a good listener in the workplace.
That’s all you need to know about how to be a good listener in the workplace and always remember that, “Everthing requires practice and more then that it requires patiences to develop or to achieve a goal.”