Everyone can benefit from gaining a better grasp on listening skills. Many marriages would be saved and many interfamily relationships would be improved if more people worked on improving their ability to listen when others are speaking. Myself included.
Gain their attention
It is nearly impossible to communicate with others if you or they are distracted. I know for myself that if there is a TV on or another conversation going on nearby then I will be unable to concentrate. I need to have someone call my name or even touch my shoulder to pull my attention back to the primary speaker. People on average spend 70% of their time listening to others and 36% of their time talking to others. Listening and understanding are not the same thing. When you focus on looking at the person speaking then you can see their non-verbal communications and pick up on their meaning behind their words.
Some people are easily distracted by outside influences. This applies to both the speaker and the listener. To the best of your ability when someone is speaking to you try to focus on them and pay attention to them. Avoid shuffling papers, gazing out the window or looking around the room. Doodling seems to help many people to remember more of what was said during their speeches.
Try to empathize with the speaker
When you try to make a connection between yourself and what the speaker is saying you will get a better grasp on the entire subject. Try to see the speaker’s point of view without trying to formulate a response. Keep an open mind and try to understand the speaker’s point of view on the subject.
Use your patience.
Take a deep breath. Allow the speaker to complete their thoughts. Some people need to take a pause (even a long one) to gather their thoughts and complete their statements. To the best of your ability try not to interrupt them.
Listen for more than their words but listen to their ideas.
Most of the time when we or others are telling or asking us something there is a main idea behind the conversation. Perhaps we need to do something or avoid doing something. Following the message we will be able to put together the entire picture the speaker is trying to get across to us. The more we practice this the better we will get at it.
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