What are Listening Skills – Definition & Meaning
Listening is all about the capability to receive and then interpret the message in the process of communication accurately. It will be right to say that listening is the key to all kinds of effective communication. Without this ability of listening to the messages effectively, they are usually misunderstood. The communication breaks down and the person sending the message can be irritated or frustrated easily.
Listening is just not the same as hearing. Hearing simply refers to the sounds that we usually hear while when it is about listening, it requires more than just hearing. It requires us to focus, paying attention not only to the story but how the story has been told, language usage and voice, and also that how the other person makes use of his or her body. It will be very right to say that effective listening largely depends on the degree to which one perceives and understands the messages.
Good listeners will not only listen to what is said but they will also be considerate towards what is left unsaid or partially said. This process of effective listening involves the observation of body language and to notice the inconsistencies between verbal as well as non verbal messages.
Principles of Listening
Let us now briefly talk about the principles of listening
- Mark Twain very well said, “If we were supposed to talk more than we listen, we would have two tongues and one ear.” You should not talk but listen when someone else is talking. Just do not interrupt, finish their sentences or talk over them.
- All your focus should be on your speaker. You must put all the other things out of your mind so that your mind is not distracted.
- Make use of the gestures to encourage the speaker to continue talking. It is suggested to maintain the eye contact but not to stare at all. Just show that you are listening and understanding what is being said.
- You should not doodle, shuffle the papers, and look out of the window or anything similar. Try to avoid unnecessary interruptions. This kind of behavior disrupts the process of listening.
- Have patience and let the speaker complete what he wants to communicate. It is because at times it takes time to formulate what is to say and how to say. Don’t interpret or finish a sentence for anyone.
- A good speaker is the one that makes use of both the tone and the volume to take their advantage and this is what keeps the audience attentive and alive. Almost everybody makes use of the tone, pitch and volume in certain situations. Let all this facilitate you in order to understand what is being emphasized.
- One of the most difficult parts of listening is the capability to link up the information pieces in order to reveal the ideas of other people. It can be done easily by paying proper concentration, and letting go off the distractions.
- We do not listen with ears only but we also pay attention to the non verbal communication as well. You should wait and try to make sense out of what is not said.