How to Improve Active Listening Skills
2 minute read | 02.02.2021 |
Most people use passive hearing, which is when you are hearing the person, but you aren’t really taking in any of the information they are saying. I know I did this with a lot of people that I talked to. This mostly happened to me when I would go to class. I would miss important details and not be able to recall the last thing my professor said.
I did tons of research to learn how to improve my active listening skills. Active listening is when you listen effectively and take in what the person you are talking to has to say. Developing the ability to listen is important because you will begin to take in more information, learn details about people, and start to understand more. People often feel disrespected if you don’t listen to them, so it is a good idea to learn how to improve active listening skills.
The first thing you need to do when improving listening skills is to be prepared to listen. If you go into the conversation knowing you are going to be passively listening, you are already going to fail. You need to prepare to listen to the person you are going to talk to. Give them a chance at least.
The second thing you are going to do is to get focused physically. Remove all distractions and sit still. Try not to do other things while listening to someone. The hardest thing for me was looking at my phone too often or doing some stupid tricks with my pen. I started not bringing my phone to class, and would keep my pens in my pocket. This way I was becoming more and more physically focused to listen.
The third thing you need to do is to become mentally focused. Becoming mentally focused is a lot harder than becoming physically focused. I know how easy it is to make it look like you are listening, but you need to have complete and full attention on what you are trying to listen to. Try not to let your mind wander or daydream. If you are in a crowded area try to block out the background noise. Try to keep your focus mostly on the message they are trying to get across. You never know when paying attention to something extremely boring will pay off.
The only time you should respond to them is when you are completely sure they are done talking and you are done listening. Pause for a few seconds to gather your thoughts and then speak. Make sure you show that you have been paying attention to them by summarizing what they had said. You can also ask questions and offer some feedback at this time.
Listening is easy once you have gotten some practice at it. That’s right; it does take practice. Keep working at it and you will begin to see the benefits of learning how to improve active listening skills.
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