You know you need to practice the art of listening when you cant seem to take instructions properly anymore. Or when your officemate bonks you on the head with a rolled up copy of yesterdays paper because shes been calling your name for five minutes now and you havent heard a single thing.
Unless you have a serious ear infection or are actually going deaf, the art of listening is quite easy to re-learn. I say re-learn because you used to be such a good listener. Back when you were in kindergarten that is.
So how do you cultivate the art of listening? Try these steps out for yourself!
Step 1: Practice Active Listening.
We take our ears and their ability to hear for granted. We think that just because we can hear what our boss is saying that we also understand the whole message.
More often than not, the situation is the exact opposite. Youd be surprised at how quickly we get distracted by the most mundane of things. You could be thinking of how your pants fit at the moment when your boss tells you a crucial detail in the project.
In order to avoid distractions, you have to practice active listening. Dont just hear the words, listen to them and try to understand how they relate to you. By consciously pushing yourself to listen, your mind wont wander off as often.
Step 2: Reinforce The Message.
The art of listening can be challenging for those who find it difficult to focus. One way to improve your listening skills is by mentally repeating the message in your head as the speaker talks.
This is similar to the technique of writing down notes while the teacher discusses the lesson. Not everybody is aware of this neat trick. By reinforcing the message in your head, you are less likely to forget it afterwards.
Step 3: Dont Interrupt.
Even if you have something to say, the art of listening compels you to keep your thoughts to yourself until the speaker has finished. This way, you will be able to hear everything in full.
Interruptions not only take a toll on the speaker, but also on the listener as well. If youre worried about forgetting your own inquiries, always bring a pen and paper with you. That way, you can jot down any of your questions and you can remember to ask them once the speaker is done talking.
The art of listening is quite easy to master if youre willing to work at your skills. Im rooting for you.