Poor listening skills can be a major communication problem, especially in the workplace. If you are filtering away all the information that went into your ear, you are missing out the chance to gain important details that are essential to your work. Having good listening skills is important to become an effective and empathetic individual that keeps an open mind to learn from others. Let’s take a look at the most obvious signs of a poor listener and how to change it.
Multi-tasking can be useful if the situation deems it right but when it comes to listening, you don’t want to break your focus away to another person or work. When you are engaged in a conversation with another person, try not to engage with other distractions or showing that your attention is diminishing.
It can be challenging to stay concentrated at work that is resulted from various situations due to visual or auditory distractions. Effective communication will be diminished if the listener is not paying attention. Developing a habit of wanting to hear and taking notes is a great way to ensure you are paying attention to the speaker. Find something relevant or interesting that is being conveyed by the speaker and take notes of key points that will enable you to review back the crux of the message.
People tend to zone out on certain points when listening or discounting anything the person does not want to accept. While sometimes what we listen can be an accurate representation of what was conveyed, but in truth sometimes it is not. This lead to creating assumptions, missing out on important details and even social cues. To ensure the message is accurately conveyed, it is best to align with the speaker again to ensure everyone is on the same page.
Cutting off a person’s conversation
There are people who are compelled to respond to the conversation before the other person can complete his/her sentence. In a different conversation environment, the speaker may be conveying thoughts to be heard. Only give a valid response if the speaker requires feedback or a follow-up discussion. The worst offences would be shutting someone off because you know what the person is talking. In this situation, it is best to show that you understand what is being conveyed compared to completely cutting off the discussion because you have heard of it.
How to improve your listening skills
Our motives and behaviour can influence our attention and listening skills. The main focus of effective listening that can inhibit our desire is to cease all judgment about a person and about what they are talking. The best go-to approach about this is as follows:
- Recognise the speaker’s thoughts and feelings. Ask questions to show your keen interest and offer reflective feedback to indicate that you understand how the speaker feels. By being open-minded with the speaker’s ideas, you can become positive support to the person instead of being a source of anxiety.
- Avoid devaluing the speaker’s ideas, obstacles, wants or concerns. Do not mentally debate what is being mentioned by the speaker and avoid passing judgement verbally or through your body language. Keep an open mind and try not to overthinking everything. To be an excellent listener, you need to understand your biases and keep it to yourself. You cannot expect other people to listen to your dismissal or criticising their ideas and behaviours. With mutual respect, you can help to establish good communication and good relationships.
- Give the speaker time to convey their message. If you unintentionally disrupt the speaker, admit your mistake and apologise to allow the speaker to proceed. Be patient with yourself and the speaker.
- Being a good listener is about how to obtain information accurately. Put aside your own ego and keep your emotions under control. Most importantly, think twice when you are judging the message that is conveyed by the speaker.
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You Jing is a content writer who writes career and lifestyle contents to inspire job seekers and employers alike on their journey to work-life balance, empowerment and transformation in their career path.
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