Active listening is the most important communication skill of managers

Active listening is a skill that many people are not aware of. According to research, since our listening rate is between 500 and 1000 words per minute and our speaking rate is between 125 and 175 words per minute, listening can be tedious and confusing, and can be accompanied by carelessness. Talking to others is […]

Active listening is a skill that many people are not aware of. According to research, since our listening rate is between 500 and 1000 words per minute and our speaking rate is between 125 and 175 words per minute, listening can be tedious and confusing, and can be accompanied by carelessness. Talking to others is easy for most people. However, many of these people have difficulty listening effectively. Studies show that people spend about 70 to 80 percent of their time communicating, with more than half of that time listening. Active listening is not difficult, yet many people have difficulty developing and succeeding in this important ability. Active listening is the difference between listening to what others have to say and understanding and relating to what they have to say. Active listening builds trust, strengthens relationships, and builds credibility. By becoming someone who has the skill of active listening, people can encourage others to listen more than to express their concepts, ideas, and beliefs. To get used to being an active listener, you need to do the following seven things consistently: 1. Maintain focus Most of the time, a typical listener is overwhelmed by his own thoughts and is looking for time to speak. If you spend time observing others while communicating, you will probably find that these people try harder to get the attention and focus of others to communicate with the audience. To stay focused on what the speaker is saying, try not to lose your normal eye contact and communicate with his or her face and eyes. Avoid giving feedback and judging before you fully hear the speaker. Avoid anything that might distract you during the conversation to stay focused. Keep your phone, laptop and any other technology that may be distracting out of your reach. Most of all, be patient. To stay focused on what the speaker is saying, try not to lose your normal eye contact and communicate with his or her facial expressions and eyes. When you interact with others and focus on what they are saying, they are subconsciously encouraged to keep sharing information with you. Try to show them patience and let them know the exact details of their message. This focus on their speech and body language will help you better interpret their message and pave the way for a free conversation. ۲. Be present in the moment Active listening is the desire to hear and memorize what a speaker is trying to say. Some research shows that people remember only 25 to 50 percent of what they hear. This means that attention to what is said in a conversation is less than half. To improve the ability to memorize the details of the conversation, be present in the moment and avoid making the answer in your mind. When speaking to others, instead of focusing on your own experiences, clear your mind of thoughts. Encourage the speaker to continue the conversation by saying things like “Continue and I understand.” These types of phrases help the conversation process and reveal more details than the main considerations of the speaker. This not only shows your respect but also gives you the ability to receive more important messages. 3. Stay silent Be patient until the speaker is completely finished. Give the speaker a short break to express all his thoughts. Then answer. While keeping quiet and not interfering with the speaker’s conversation is one way to actively listen, it does not necessarily mean that you do not react. Facial expressions, body language, and hand gestures can convey your feelings to the subject without saying a word. 4. Repeat or explain To actively listen, repeat what the speaker has to say or explain his or her general idea. This shows that you are communicating with the message of the speaker and validates you as a listener. Repetition and explanation also allow the speaker to go into more detail about the conversation. 5. Ask open-ended questions Asking questions is often necessary to better understand what the speaker is trying to say. Ask the speaker open-ended questions to allow him or her to provide more details about the situation and the subject matter. For example, instead of asking: Will this situation last for a long time? Ask: How long will this situation last? If the answer to your question is a simple yes or no, it will not help to clarify the conversation, and instead the open-ended questions will allow the speaker to go into more detail. 6. Understand the speaker’s intent Vocabulary reveals only part of the nature of the conversation, and it is the facial expressions, body language, and tone of voice that complete it. Try to understand the emotional meaning behind the words. Try to understand both what the speaker is saying and what he is not saying. Share your understanding of what the speaker is saying to make sure you fully understand his or her original intent.