Communication is what links people together, whether it’s through professional or personal relationships. There are a number of ways to communicate effectively despite the fact that many people place most emphasis on engaging in conversation. However, listening is a very critical aspect to any form of dialogue as it allows both parties to connect on a more meaningful level. Becoming a better listener will not only create a better sense of communication, but can potentially strengthen relationships across the board. Here are a few times to become a better listener so you can live a life with more meaningful communication.
When you engage in a conversation, it is important to remove distractions. Whether you are in a business meeting or having a conversation with a family member or friend, you should always try to make sure that your entire attention is focused on the person you are communicating with. Some things you should remove from the conversation are electronics such as televisions or cell phones. Eliminate working on other things like writing emails or trying to read a magazine. Anything that distracts from the conversation such as something that makes sound or requires part of your attention should be removed until the conversation is over.
Maintain Eye Contact
Eye contact is important in any dialogue as it is tangible proof that you are invested in the conversation. Maintaining eye contact allows the other person to know that you are fully engaged and invested in what they have to say. Keeping your eyes on the other person also reduces the likeliness of something close by attracting your attention away from the conversation.
Listen; Don’t Just Hear
Often, when someone else is speaking, rather than completely listening to what they have to say, you are instead thinking of your response. Remember, hearing someone and listening is not the same thing. You can hear the word someone is saying without really considering what those words mean. Rather than thinking of a replay, simply listen to the person’s thought completely before forming your response. This may seem tedious, but it can be accomplished in a matter of seconds. Taking just a couple of seconds to really consider the other person’s thoughts or feelings can greatly reduce the chance of miscommunication or disputes.
Listening isn’t just sitting quietly and waiting for your turn to speak. It is much more than that. Listening is something that you do even through the words you say. Asking questions throughout a conversation provides proof to the other person that you are invested in what they are saying. This keeps the conversation going and provides real value to the depth of communication.
Listening is an important tool for people to have whether it is in their personal or professional life. Being an active listener will keep the doors of communication open and increase the chances of people being able to work together in a more meaningful way. Careers can develop and relationships can evolve based simply on learning to listen, rather than simply being an active speaker.