Effective Listening : stop hearing, start listening

We live in a world of multi-taskers. We cannot just eat or just work, there has to be an additional watching TV or texting on the smart phone along with our daily chores. Similarly, there are times when in business meetings or lunch-table-discussions we are not having any other side jobs because we are mostly compelled to listen to the person talking. We are listening. But, are we? No. We aren’t listening; we are pretending to listen just because we are supposed to. There might be songs playing at the back of our mind, or maybe even making up dinner plans for tonight. What happens in the mean time is that you end up missing the entire talk and hence hampering your work.

Here are 3 ways to being an effective listener:

  • Be attentive:

Make up your mind to stay attentive and not let your mind go astray. It might be boring or even monotonous at times but once you get through the talk you will feel relieved as now, you don’t have to ask others for help or a brief on the talk. Even if you go off course, be conscious and come back to the room. Try to cover up with what you missed. Missing out on the discussion will just be a waste of time. Remember, you are there in the discussion to be a part of it. If necessary, jot down important points. It is an observed fact that you tend to be more attentive while writing down what is being taught. Moreover, you also have a brief of the discussion and can look it up whenever necessary.

  • Have an open mind:

Do not mind-block yourself. Judging others will only result in your mind going haywire which will further result in you missing out on the discussion. So keep aside the judging and mocking and concentrate on what he/ she have to share. Listen without making any conclusions. Most of the times, the scenario at your workplace will be a heated one. You will have to maintain your cool and not judge people on how they are talking to you. Yes, it might be rude. You will still have to listen because he/she is telling you how to correct the mistake committed. Now if you won’t listen, you will end up messing things up all over again. So, have an open mind, listen and then implement. You will find yourself interested, once the entire thought has been delivered.

  • Maintain eye-contact:

Most people may be good listeners but they miss out on the part of the “eye-contact”. Though not very noticeable, an eye-contact makes huge difference in one’s attentiveness. Making eye-contact is a plus point to effective listening because firstly, you know that the speaker is looking at you which compels you to listen and secondly, it shows the listener that you’re listening and gives him a better platform and confidence to speak.

This doesn’t mean you keep staring at him and make things weird. Maintain the 70% rule i.e., to maintain eye-contact 70% of the time while listening. Communication happens when you look interested. So listen not only with your ears but with eyes as well.


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