Improving Your Listening Skills

Posted by Radmin on February 3rd, 2020

Whether it’s for personal growth, relationship building, or professional development, the ability to listen well is a very important skill and well worth the effort to cultivate.

Why Listening Is Important

Epictetus said, “We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.” And the apostle James wrote, “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry[…]”. One very practical reason that listening is so important is that it makes life easier. If you rush to conclusions, listen hastily without understanding, or ignore instructions or information you could end up wishing you had. If you don’t pay attention to the teacher in a driver’s ed course or an instructor in safety training, it could have serious repercussions later. If you space off during a class, you may find yourself struggling with the exams.

Another important incentive to become a better listener is to enhance relationships. Whether it’s between you and a friend, a coworker, or a customer, communication is essential to the human experience and if you do not make the effort to connect with and understand the other person that relationship could suffer.

How to Practice

Like any other skill, listening takes practice. It is very easy to go on “autopilot” and coast through a conversation while your mind wanders away. Instead, maintain eye contact with the person and do not fidget with your phone or other distractions.

Another tip that will change your entire listening process is to focus on understanding, not responding. While another person is talking most people tend to think about how they are about to respond next. Instead, actively listen and ask followup questions like “so what happened next?”, “did you like that play?”, “what was your favorite part?”, “had you ever joined any Iranian American groups before?” etc.

Where to Practice

The good news is that life will undoubtedly provide you with many opportunities to practice listening. This could be over the phone, in person, or via video chat. It could be talking with a coworker, friend, spouse, or waitress. A neat result that tends to happen as you show an active interest in listening to the other person they will respond in kind and want to listen to you.

You can practice listening in a classroom, a church, a community meeting, a business seminar, or a special interest function, like at Iranian American groups. There are many group venues where you can practice your listening skills as well.

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Joined: April 13th, 2019
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