God gave us 2 ears and a mouth. The ears are exclusively devoted for hearing whereas the mouth is supposed to do both speaking and eating. Perhaps, God intended that we should do 4 times as much listening as talking. More often than not, it is the reverse! Most of us tend to do more talking than listening.
“To listen well is as powerful a means of communication and influence as to talk well” –
In order to achieve effective listening skill, there are a number of steps that have to take place:
- understanding why and what you are listening
- tune in to the speaker
- tune out unnecessary signals
- using a posture that favors understanding and conveys confidence to the speaker
- providing eye contact to the speaker
- put your emotions aside while you listen
- defer all judgement and conclusions till you finish listening
- expressive body language feedback
- voice feedback
- ask questions
Listening requires a synthesis of not only words that we hear, but also other signals like vocal variety, body language, visual aids, and so on. Listening is a holistic and whole-body process. Listening is an input-output process and not an input process. Listening is seeking to understand what the speaker communicated and assuring the speaker to understand that the listener has understood.