Listening Effectively


Many must practice and hone their listening skills in order to reap the many benefits of effective listening.

 

"Wisdom is the reward you get for a lifetime of listening
when you'd have preferred to talk."-Doug Larson

 

Truly listening to another person can be a difficult task, especially in business and personal relationships. Our ultimate goal in many conversations is to make the other person understand our perspective.; so much so that it's easy to forget to truly listen to and understand theirs. While the other person speaks, we are often simply waiting for our own turn to talk again rather than truly hearing and processing what the other person is saying to us. It is a trap we all fall into, but one you can rise above when you understand the benefits of listening and how to do it well.

On a basic level, listening will cause you to understand the needs of a business client or your spouse, and you'll never know that if you don't listen when they tell you. It seems like such a basic concept, but it's easy to gloss over important details as you rush through your busy day. You'll understand the needs of others and meet them more effectively if you take the time to really listen. This allows for much more open communication and better negotiation. (to learn more about business-related topics you may get as many tips from our business articles or seek professional counsel from various Business Consultation Service providers in Dubai)

Listening helps you to better understand others, but it also helps them to better understand you. When people feel as though you have truly listened to them, they are much more likely to return the favor and listen to you. This gives you the opportunity to convey important information. You are much more likely to be understood by someone who is actively listening to you, and the best way to make that happen is to first make sure they feel as though they have been heard.

Once you've gotten some experience of listening to people, you'll be surprised by some of the things you'll hear and the places you hear them. Every single person you meet in life is on a unique journey, which means they all have something to say. Sometimes pearls of wisdom are hidden in the most unlikely places, and you might miss them if you haven't trained yourself to listen for them. Never dismiss another person and assume that what they are saying isn't important. You never know when you might hear exactly what you need to know at the moment. Keeping your ears open allows you to expand your knowledge and learn from the mistakes and experiences of others.

Listening can expand not only your knowledge but also your circle of friends and contacts. People enjoy being listened to and often find those that listen to them to be more likable. To be listened to is to make someone feel important, validated and cared for. In the famous words of
Maya Angelou,

 

"...people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."

 

Just as listening has its perks, not listening also has consequences. In business, failure to listen to clients can cause you to lose them. It can also make meetings take longer and waste time, as important points may need to be repeated for those who weren't listening to them the first time. Though managers and employers expect employees to listen, it is beneficial for them to listen to their employees as well.

Employees who feel that their boss does not listen to them don't feel empowered and often stop bringing new ideas to the table, since no one listens to them anyway. In fact, Business News Daily reports that 35% of workers feel their boss never listens to their ideas or concerns. Ignoring employees is an excellent way to miss new ideas or overlook a problem someone may have pointed out before it was too late.

The same is true in personal relationships, as well. It is extremely difficult to resolve conflicts when you aren't really listening to what the other person wants or needs, and they'll know you're not listening. This makes people feel devalued and can cause resentments and unspoken issues that fester under the surface. To avoid these problems, you must leam to become a good listener.

When you recognize what great listening looks like, you'll be able to catch yourself if you aren't doing it and make the necessary corrections. The first step is to minimize distractions. Put your cell phone away and give the speaker your full attention, Look at the person who is talking, being sure to focus on them rather than looking over their shoulder or taking in your surroundings. Focus on the person and redirect your attention if it strays.

Good listeners also have open minds. Remember that the person who is speaking is sharing their story and experience with you for their own reasons. Don't compare their situation to yours or judge their point of view. Listen to what the other person has to say and take it for what it is- their version of their story. Imposing your own version is a sign of poor listening skills. Make it your personal mantra to "Learn, Unlearn and Relearn". This means that you make yourself teachable despite knowing about a specific topic already, always have a mindset that there is always something new about what you already know - so then always, "relearn".

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