How to master full listening skills?

Posted by HR Key Functions Jun 3, 2010

Listening skills are essential for the quality of your life and business as well as reading, writing and speaking skills. If you manage to master excellent listening skills, you are going to enhance your communication skills.
Better listening leads to better understanding of key facts, problems, ideas, solutions etc.

Listening Facts:
* In a spoken message, 55% of the meaning is translated non-verbally, 38% is indicated by the tone of voice, while only 7% is conveyed by the words used (Mehrabian, 1981).

* Spoken words only account for 30-35% of the meaning. The rest is transmitted through a non-verbal communication that only can be detected through visual and auditory listening.

* The average person talks at a rate of about 125 – 175 words per minute, while we can listen at a rate of up to 450 words per minute.

* Most people spend at least 45% of communication time listening

* Most people listen to and understand only about a fourth of what is being communicated.

* Listening is the most used of all communication skills.

* Listening is the least developed of all communication skills.

* Listening skills are poorest when people interact with those closest to them. They interrupt and jump to conclusions more frequently.

* Listening is tied to effective leadership.

* Listening leaders recognize that listening and leadership are inseparable and that listening is the best way to learn about the true needs, expectations, and desires of their subordinates.

Why do you need to develop your listening skills? In today’s fast living society no one has time to listen. Many people speak at one and the same time and no one is listening to their counterparts. People desire talking about them and are not willing to go into your thoughts and problems in depth.
By improving your listening skills you will face a better communication with others, you’ll have success and greater results in every day life. Effective public speaking or speaking in front of your friends or spouse is a tool that can be developed in few weeks and trainings. That requires excellent communication skills and the initial ability you need is listening ability.
Below we describe the most important steps you should follow in order to cultivate the ability how to listen and how to catch attention.

# Interest: At first you should show your interest to the speaker. Don’t let you be distracted by other materials, people or events.

# Let the talker feel free to talk: Stop chatting and watch the speaker straight in the eyes.

# Be patient: Allow the presenter to speak slowly, don’t interrupt him/her and try to nod when you feel you know what he or she is talking about.

# Separate the facts from speaker’s opinion!
# Ask questions! Questions are important to gain more information on the topic before you finally meet a conclusion. 

# Be careful of criticizing the speaker, his or her outfit, shoes, appearance.

# If you disagree on one topic, be very careful how you act! Don’t spend more than 7-8 minutes in arguments. In a positive way tell your opinion and enhance it with an example but do not overreact and don’t be emotional. Hold your temper!

# Be aware of body language! Keep eye contact while listening or speaking.

Try using these simple rules and you will be amazed how many information you can gather. To analyze a situation and to find a solution you need information. Knowledge and information are the most powerful tools in our society. Utilize those techniques and results and profit will follow.

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