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SILENCE: 3 Ways To Improve Your Listening Skills

SILENCE: 3 Ways To Improve Your Listening Skills

During my elementary years, we are taught that if someone is talking, we should not interrupt them but rather listen.

I think everyone will agree with me when I say listening is essential. However, some people have difficulty listening. Like other critical communication skills, listening well is dependent on being aware of the goals, our own habits, and choosing how to respond. The good news is that we can all become better listeners with practice.

Becoming a better listener entails more than just understanding how to listen; it also demands certain actions. Here are 3 ways you can follow to improve your listening skills.

1. Know Your Listening Style

To achieve conversational goals, you must know what listening styles you are using. Why? simply because learning to listen well begins with understanding what type of listening styles you have such as deep listening, full listening, critical listening, and therapeutic listening.

If you know what listening style to be used, it is also important to stay focused on the person you are talking to and on the goals because it will help you adapt to the needs of the situation.

For example, if you have a classmate, colleague, or even a family member who is expressing fear, responding with validation and curiosity may allow you to capture valuable information and more effectively address the person’s needs.

2. Establish Why You Are Listening

We listen for a variety of reasons: sometimes to be more efficient, or it can be to avoid conflict. But sometimes people listen just to gain attention, or simply to entertain. When we repeatedly and perhaps unconsciously prioritize those reasons, we neglect other listening goals.

So it is best to know upon building a conversation to consider this question to know what the person you are talking to is seeking from you. Is he/she seeking a critique? or an emotional connection?

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What are the goals of this conversation?

In this way, you know best how you can listen at that particular moment.

3. Ask Questions

It is imperative that you have understood what the conversation is all about before responding. That is why asking for and clarifying information should not come off as negative. Taking a few seconds to pause and think before responding automatically may help reveal a more subtle, important opportunity.

Recognizing when to change our habitual listening styles and responding patterns may allow for more improved interpersonal communication that will result in meaningful interactions.
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