Sharpening Your Listening Skills

One of the most vital aspects of a leader is to improve your listening skills. The step here is to adjust your fundamental attitude during communication. How wonderful the world might be if everyone shifted to higher levels of listening. How about you? As a leader do you have room to become a more effective listener? Why not give it a try?

Below are 10 ways in which can help you become a better listener

  1. Listen for ideas and central themes. Search for the speaker’s central theme or main points rather than getting lost in, or reacting to, the supportive details.
  2. Judge content, not delivery. Focus to your best ability, on what the speaker is saying and try not to be overly influenced by his or her way of saying it.
  3. Search for areas of interest. It is extremely easy to tune out a speaker, so work on sharing his or her enthusiasm. Selfishly search for new ideas or insights which might be beneficial to you.
  4. Don’t jump to conclusions. It’s easy to assume that you know the rest of a sentence or message after hearing the beginning. Avoid prejudging a message, so you can obtain and evaluate all of it.
  5. 5 Take notes, but adjust your note-taking to the speaker. By taking notes you sharpen your reception, understanding, and, of course, retention of the information.
  6. Concentrate and resist distraction. External distractions include non-related things you can see or hear, or which may be impacting your other senses. Internal distractions occur when your mind wanders into unrelated memories or shifts its focus to worries, plans, or anticipations.
  7. Use the fast pace of thought to your advantage. Most people can think three or four times faster than they speak. Don’t let your quick mind indulge in all sorts of thoughts unrelated to the conversation. Capitalize on your thinking speed by actively sensing, interpreting, evaluating, and summarizing the messages being received.
  8. Check your emotions. It has been said that the intellect is the slave to emotions. Be sensitive to things that trigger your emotions and increase your efforts to focus on a clear reception and understanding of what is being said.
  9. Exercise your mind. You can turn away from complicated or difficult subjects, or you can intellectually wrestle with difficult information so that you will have a chance to grow.
  10. Work at listening. Be an active listener. Follow the above suggestions. Ask questions and seek clarification. Actively share in the sender’s efforts to improve your level of understanding, whether or not you think you will agree.


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