This is from an article by Nido Quebin. (This is a 2 part series- in part 2 below we learn how to listen better.)
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So, when it’s your turn to listen…
1. Do it with thought and care.
Listening, like speaking and writing, requires genuine
interest and attention. If you don’t concentrate on listening, you won’t learn much, and you won’t remember much of what you do learn. Most of us retain only 25 percent of what we hear — so if you can increase your retention and your comprehension, you can increase your effectiveness. A sign on the wall of Lyndon Johnson’s Senate office put it in a down -to earth way: “When you’re talking, you aren’t learning.”
2. Use your eyes.
If you listen only with your ears, you’re missing out on much of the
message. Good listeners keep their eyes open while listening. Look for feelings. The face is an eloquent communication medium learn to read its messages. While the speaker is delivering a verbal message, the face can be saying, “I’m serious,” “Just kidding,” “It pains me to be telling you this,” or “This gives me great pleasure.”
3. Observe these nonverbal signals when listening to people:
Rubbing one eye. When you hear “I guess you’re right,” and the speaker is rubbing one eye, guess again.
- Rubbing one eye often is a signal that the speaker is having trouble inwardly accepting something.
- Tapping feet. When a statement is accompanied by foot tapping, it usually indicates a lack of confidence in what is being said.
- Rubbing fingers. When you see the thumb and forefinger rubbing together, it often means that the speaker is holding something back.
- Staring and blinking. When you see the other person staring at the ceiling and blinking rapidly, the topic at hand is under consideration.
- Crooked smiles. Most genuine smiles are symmetrical. And most facial expressions are fleeting. If a smile is noticeably crooked, you’re probably looking at a fake one.
- Eyes that avoid contact. Poor eye contact can be a sign of low self -esteem, but it can also indicate that the speaker is not being truthful. It would be unwise to decide based solely on these visible signals. But they can give you valuable tips on the kind of questions to ask and the kind of answers to be alert for.
4. Make things easy.
People who are poor listeners will find few who are willing to come
to them with useful information. Good listeners make it easy on those to whom they want to listen. They make it clear that they’re interested in what the other person has to say.
Continued success in your communication skills!