- October 28, 2022
- Posted by: Janet
- Categories: Image Leadership, Personal Development
How well do you take your time to listen to what others are saying around you? Are you attentive during one-on-one conversations? Do you consider yourself a more visual learner than auditory? It has been proven that adults and children tend to be influenced more by what they see rather than what they hear. Communication is always a two way exercise, when one is talking the other should be listening in order to provide a befitting response, and for dialogue to take place. The art of listening is a skill that has a technique and must be practiced.
During one of my trainings, I decided to test the listening capacity of my audience. I purposely kept their attention by talking and doing things at the same time. I later asked them to perform a little act; it did not surprise me that they simply copied what I did and not what I said. Clearly, they were more engaged with what they saw and not with what they had heard.
It is very easy to wander off while you are supposed to be listening to something. It is easier to watch the TV and listen to the wordings of the movie or program at the same time. People tend to listen to the radio when what they are engaged in other activities, for instance while at the desk, while driving at the salon, or doing something else keeping preoccupied, that way there is no need to stop in your tracks to listen otherwise your attention span will be cut off quickly. Though this does depend on what you are listening too especially if you purposely tuned in to listen to something specific.
A survey conducted tells us that we listen to round about 300 words per minute and we speak at least 200 words per minute. This means we do have the capacity to receive more information than that which is spoken. It is one thing to think it and another to understand what is being heard. Listening requires an intentional act that is why when you do not understand what you have heard you will tend to ask the person to come again or repeat. This means you want to intentionally listen again so that you have a better understanding and therefore you can act accordingly. I understand that for communication to be successful you will need to listen 80% of the time and talk 20% of the time. Active listening makes all the difference.
Attributes to Good Listening.
To hear what someone is saying well, listening becomes easier when you are looking at the person. You see the body language by way of that person’s actions, eye contact, smile, head nod, expression on the face, body movements, body positioning, hand gestures, leg movements and more. It is impossible to have an argument smiling; likewise you cannot be happy frowning. What you see is what you will interpret as part of your intentional listening.
When it comes to listening, you can either attract a listener or totally distract a listener. The vocal cords expressed can be deep under toned, husky and slowly drifting away, on the other hand it can be high pitched, squeaky, too fast, and incomprehensible. Your vocal cues when it comes to listening work well when you are able to control your tone of voice, high, low, or balanced is ideal. Your pace of voice also can influence people’s willingness to listen to you. If you speak too fast, you will be asked to keep repeating yourself. If your voice is slow, it will appear boring and mundane this will draw away people’s attention span very quickly. You will need to pick your words carefully and be attentive to signs that people are listening, more importantly that they understand what they are hearing.
Talk they say is cheap, but what are you saying? It is wrong to talk for the sake of it; unless you are that person who always wants to have the last word in before you are satisfied. The words you choose and how you say it influence ones listening capacity a great deal. In speaking your tone of voice is key but more importantly the inflection of your words, and the structure of your sentences. Your pronunciation and accent must be considered for people to hear and understand too. It is key that you pronounce your words as best fit as possible, as people will interpret what they heard, and may miscommunicate Verbal speech control is necessary where needed with practice this can be achieved.
Finally, to listen intentionally you must clearly be in the right frame of mind. There are so many distractions around us that can make the mind wander, unconsciously or even consciously. If you feel that you are bugged down with other things preoccupying your mind, it is better to exit the conversation. It will be considered rude when one is talking and you are unable to respond or indicate that you are listening. Courtesy demands that you listen intentionally when you are in conservation. When in a meeting the benefit is derived when you come away from it more knowledgeable, better informed, and impactful decisions are made. The best strategy is to improve and practice your listening skills.
There are many strategic tips on how to listen well. Engage me in a lunch and learn session or performance training for your staff, the results will be amazing.