The ability to listen more effectively may be acquired through discipline and practice. As a listener you must be physically relaxed and mentally alert to receive and understand the message.
Effective listening requires sustained concentration (regardless of the length of the message), attention to the main ideas presented, note-taking (if the conditions are appropriate), and no emotional blocks to the message by the listener. You cannot listen passively and expect to retain the message.
If you want to be an effective listener, you must give the communicator of the message sufficient attention and make an effort to understand his viewpoint.
Here are some practical suggestions for effective listening, which, if followed, can appreciably increase the effectiveness of this communicative skill.
Here are the 10 Tips to Improve your Listening Skill;
Realize that Listening is Hard Work
You must appreciate the art of listening, and make conscious effort to listen others.
Prepare to listen, to receive the message clearly, the receiver must have the correct mental attitude. In your daily communications, establish a permissive environment for each communicator.
Have Positive Attitude
If you have to do it, do it with a positive attitude.
Tune out internal and external distractions by facing and maintaining contact with the speaker. If you experience some negative environment factors, you can sometimes move to another location in the room.
Good listeners adjust quickly to any kind of abnormal. Listen to understand, not refute Respect the viewpoint of those you disagree with.
Try to understand the points they emphasize and why they have such feelings (training, background, etc.). Don’t allow your personal biases and attitudes to influence your listening to the message.
Keep an Open Mind
A good listener doesn’t feel threatened or insulted, or need to resist messages that contradict his beliefs, attitudes, ideas, or personal values. Try to identify and rationalize the words or phrases most upsetting to your means.
Find an Area of Interest
Good listeners are interested and attentive. They find ways to make the message relevant to themselves and/ or their jobs. Make your listening efficient by asking yourself ‘what is he saying that I can use?
Does he have any worthwhile ideas? Is he conveying any workable approaches or solutions? G. K Chesterton once said, There is no such-thing as an uninteresting subject; there are only uninteresting people.
Concentrate on the Context
Search out main ideas. Construct a mental outline of where speaker is going. Listen for transition and progression of ideas. If need be, you may reinforce the mental outline by physically taking down the notes.
Capitalize on Thought Speed
Most of us think at about four times faster than the communicator speaks. It is almost impossible to slow down our thinking speed. What do you do with the excess thinking time while someone is speaking?
The good listener uses thought-speed to advantage by applying spare thinking time to what is being said. Your greatest handicap may be not capitalizing on thought-speed. Through listening training, it can be converted into your greatest asset.
Combine Verbal Delivery with Nonverbal Cues
F. S. Pearls, author of Gestalt Theory Vibration, said “Don’t listen to the words_ just listen to what the voice tells you, what the movements tell you, what the posture tells you what the image tells you”.
Show Some Empathy
Empathy means placing yourself in the shoes of speaker and try understand his viewpoint from there. If we show some empathy, we create a climate that encourages others to communicate honestly and openly. Therefore, try to see the communicator’s point of view.
Hold your fire: Be patient. Don’t interrupt.Don’t become over-stimulated, too excited, or excited too soon, by what the speaker says. Be sure you understand what the speaker means; that is, withhold your evaluation until your comprehension is complete.
Mentally arguing with a communicator is one of the principal reasons so little listening takes place in some discussions. Don’t argue. If you win, you lose.
Listen Critically and Delay Judgment
Good listeners delay making a judgment about the communicator’s personality, the principal points of the message, and the response.
Ask questions and listen critically to the answers. Then, at the appropriate time, judgment can be passed in an enlightened manner.