Communication – Listen

Posted on January 29, 2011 by

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Typically listening is not the first thing that comes to mind when

singingbird

If you listen, you'll be amazed by the sound!

communication is studied. This is unfortunate because we spend about 45 percent of our communication time listening. Tests have shown, however, that we are usually only about 25 percent effective in listening (Huseman, Lahiff, & Hatfield, 1976). That is, we listen to and understand only about a fourth of what is being communicated. I believe this is a big reason projects never reach their full potential, we do not listen and fully understand what is being communicated. We move ahead on activities without fully understanding the real intent.

Here are six ways to strengthen your listening skills:

  1. Make a conscious effort to listen at the outset.
  2. Maintain the appropriate eye contact.
  3. Avoid emotional involvement, try to remain objective and open-minded.
  4. Avoid finishing someone else’s sentences.
  5. Do not formulate your response while the other person is speaking and avoid finishing their sentences.
  6. Stay active by asking questions and paraphrasing back what you thought the other person shared to confirm your understanding.

Don’t be afraid to admit when you have missed something or don’t fully understand. “I’m sorry but I do not think I fully understood what you were saying”.  Listening is not an easy skill; a person listens at the rate of about 500 words a minute but normally speaks at a rate of only 125 to 250 words a minute, so your mind can dwell on other things half the time.

with R. Koch – 2005 – TAP RAP

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