Oct
11
2011

Importance of Good Listening Skills

Many of us take our listening skills for granted. We don’t regard it as a skill to be fine-tuned; rather, listening is an act we assume we’re already good at.

Being able to listen well is just as important for communication as an eloquent speaking manner. Thus it is vital that good listening skills are developed.

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  1. Listen to hear and understand: Listening skills help individuals to hear and understand each other. To hear alone is not good enough and impedes effective communication, but to hear and understand means to communicate effectively with those you come into contact with.
  2. Listen to learn: When you listen by applying strong listening skills you are able to learn from what you hear. Without it, you simply hear without subconsciously or even consciously processing the information conveyed to you, which results in no learning taking place. Thus the better your listening ability, the more efficiently you will be able to learn from everything and everyone you come into contact with.
  3. Listen to help and support: Hearing someone tell you something in confidence could help or hinder them depending on your listening ability. Without good listening skills in place you may not hear exactly what they are saying, or perhaps trying to say, and this may cause you to hinder them or at the very least you may not realize that they need help. The worst case of this is when you are one of the very few people, or even the only one, who could help them through a specific situation, but do not even realize that they need your help because you do not exercise good listening skills. With good listening skills you are able to hear more than the words spoken; perhaps an individual is afraid to tell you how they feel outright, but they convey their feelings with non-verbal communication such as body language or facial expressions.
  4. Avoiding confusion: By developing good listening skills you are able to listen to what the other person is really saying, instead of listening half-heartedly and jumping to the incorrect conclusions when the person is not even finished speaking. Thus you are able to avoid confusion and extract exactly the information from the other person as was intended.
  5. Listen to aid expression: When you listen with effective listening skills you help the next individual to express themselves effectively. This is because people often listen to half of what someone says before allowing their minds to wander and perhaps form its own conclusions of what is being said. They then interrupt the other person or do not respond in a satisfactory manner when the person stops to gather his or her thoughts, and it is this response which is crucial in aiding the other individual to effectively express themselves.
  6. Listening to grow: Listening skills are important in growth, in terms emotional development and intelligence. When people speak to you, you may have the instinctive reaction to judge them for what they say or what they represent to you. This reaction, however, may be opposing to emotional and intellectual growth. By judging someone you allow your own thoughts and opinions about a particular subject to dominate your mindset, without listening to the other person and taking everything they communicate into account. By listening effectively, however, you are able to see where they come from and perhaps understand why they see things from a certain perspective, and this may show you some flaws in your own opinions, allowing you to learn and grow through the experience.

Listening actively and effectively and paying attention are not mirror terms, but for this purpose they’re close enough.

 So what’s in it for you? Learning how to improve your listening skills will allow you to understand other people more quickly and to learn ideas and concepts more efficiently. People will enjoy talking to you and they will in general enjoy your company. Becoming a good listener also helps you stay focused and not stray from the conversation. In public speaking, you not only have to speak your mind or air your views to guarantee success. Listening and listening well to whatever your opponent or audience or listeners have to say also matter a great deal. For this reason alone, I suggest you also start thinking about working on the “listening part” of public speaking.

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Do you want to improve and refine your oral communication skills? Join us at the next edition of the LiveSpeech Open Workshop for presentation skills and public speaking training for professionals. CLICK HERE for more details.

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