Success in relationships knows how to listen. Effective communication is the key to everything. This type of communication occurs when each party is able to express their feelings and thoughts and properly listen to the words of the other. Listening actively and with commitment can help you better understand other people. The more you listen, the more you learn.
What do I do to learn to listen?
- The first step you have to take is to eliminate distractions. When you’re talking to someone, turn off the TV, radio, or anything else that makes noise. In this way, you will be able to concentrate better on what he is saying to you.
- Pay attention. Stop rambling and thinking about the things you have to do. When you are having a conversation, focus your mind on what you are hearing. Apart from listening to the words, try to give them meaning and understand what they mean to you. Also, look closely at the person, their body language, their face, and their mannerisms. This is important, since there are many things that, rather than being said, are perceived.
- Listen to one thing at a time. Especially at the beginning, do not try to listen to several people at the same time. You don’t want to cover too much. While you are listening, do not do other tasks, focus on the conversation. If you are in a public place and there are many voices at once, try to pay attention to the sound of the voice speaking to you.
- When you’re somewhere and a song is playing, actively listen to it. We are used to having background music in many situations of daily life, but we do not usually pay attention to it. To practice listening, focus on the lyrics of the song and try to figure out what it is saying.
- If selective attention is difficult for you, exercise it. If long conversations like conferences or seminars take forever and you lose track of what they are saying, you can practice at home. To do this, set goals and at home listen to a lesson for 5 minutes while taking notes. Each time, increase 2 or 3 minutes. You will be able to see how, little by little, you will improve.
Common mistakes when listening
- We do not pay enough attention to the interlocutors.
- We interrupted conversations several times.
- We do not react appropriately to differences of opinion.
- We divert the conversation to what interests us, ignoring the wishes of the other.
- We let our tone of voice show aggressiveness or apathy in the face of what they are telling us.
- We criticize people who are not present at the time.
- We reject without tact or consideration the opinions of others that do not interest us.
- Qualify what is heard as uninteresting or boring.
- Pay attention to the person’s appearance, instead of listening to what they are saying.
- Let your imagination run wild and begin to fantasize or think about things unrelated to the topic of conversation.
- Staying absorbed with the things that make up the environment or place where you are, instead of paying attention to the interlocutor.
Tips to improve active listening
- Do not interrupt.
- talk consciously
- Learn to listen between the lines. Most of the time there is a slight discrepancy between what is being said and what is being conveyed. We can find out what they mean to us with body language.
- Respect others, do not judge them.
- Exercise the ability to retain information. If we do not have a good memory or do not trust that we will remember the important things, it is advisable to take notes.
- Practice verbal self-restraint. That is, speak what is necessary to learn to listen.
- Do not adopt a hostile or emotional attitude. Keep your mind open to what you are listening to.
- Practice fed back. Answer all the questions you are asked, but be brief and concise.
- I have nods his head several times. Make gestures of understanding and affirmation so that the other person knows that you are paying attention to them.
Finally, here are some tips that may help you.
- To practice the different types of listening you can do two exercises. The first, in a symphony with many instruments, tries to hear the general sound of the piece. Then play the same symphony and try to pay attention to just one instrument.
- Hearing perceives a sound. Listening is paying attention to sounds.
- Note the tone of voice used by the interlocutor, the gestures, and the way of speaking, the accent and the customs.
- Be quiet and let the other person speak. Answer questions when it’s your turn, don’t interrupt, and nod often.
- If you are speaking in a language other than your own, try to get the overall message. Try to listen to the conversation as a whole, within a context. This way it will be easier for you to understand what he wants to tell you.
- Relate what you hear to what you already know.
- Take notes or notes in case they are giving you important information that you need later. This way, you don’t have to be aware of remembering them and you can pay more attention to the rest of the conversation.