Communication is an integral part of human existence. Without proper communication, man would not be as successful as he is. Businesses, industries, and institutions in use today would probably not be in existence as well. And in any given piece of communication, the value of the information being delivered is just as important as the recipient listening to it. After all, if important information is not listened to, its effect or value is eroded. In this piece, learn how you can listen better and improve the value of your interaction with others.
Maintaining eye contact
One of the most obvious and important aspects of listening to someone is eye contact. You have to make eye contact with the person speaking to you. This shows that you are connected to them and that your attention is on them. The eye contact doesn’t have to be given all through the conversation but it needs to be considerable. Making eye contact during a conversation also shows respect for the other person and for the message being conveyed.
Listening so as to understand, not to argue back
If you watch a debate session, whether in school or in congress, you will notice that some participants will pay attention to those speaking, not so as to understand what they are saying, but so as to find ‘ammunition’ to respond back. To be a great listener, you must listen for the sake of understanding what the other person is trying to convey, rather than to poke holes into their argument or message.
Another quality of a good listener is patience. You must wait until the other person has finished speaking, especially if they are an authority figure over you, e.g. teacher, parent, etc. Interruptions break the flow of commutation and ruin the delivery of the message. Incessant interruptions are annoying and can lead to conflict or fights. And if an authority figure is concerned, interruptions display disrespect. If you have to seek clarification or oppose what the other person is saying, wait until they are finished speaking. You would want them to do the same for you.
Acknowledging and asking questions
A great listener participates in a conversation by acknowledging what is being said to them through various emotional reactions. Verbal reactions might include words or phrases such as ‘what?’, ‘no way!’, ‘go on’, etc. Non verbal reactions might include laughs, frowning, whistling, and so forth. Such reactions show the person talking that you are receiving their communication and understanding it. Asking questions at the end also showcases the same point.
Receptive body language
Lastly, a good listener showcases receptive body language. Receptive body language here can indicate being in agreement or focus on the conversation. For example, most people will nod during a conversation to show that they understand or agree with what is being said. At other times, people will keep their hands folded at the front to show that they are concentrating on what is being said.
Together, all these traits will help you to be a better listener. And by being a better listener, you will learn more, create better connections with people, earn the respect of others, and more.
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