Communication is the basis of every relationship. There are aspects involved such as common interests and emotions. However, these can exist even without building relationships. Once communication is initiated, people begin to relate to each other, the first step in developing relationships. Communication is two-way, which means that you do not just express yourself but that you also listen to others. While listening is just as important as expressing, it is also the more neglected half. With weaknesses in this, you can never relate to other people. You may be able to articulate your ideas but it may never sink in to others.
It is important to learn how to listen effectively. It is through this that you absorb what others have in mind. It is through this that you grasp another person’s feelings, insights, and his entire situation. This has a bearing on how you treat other people, on how you express yourself too. If you do not take pains in listening to others intently, you have the tendency to be insensitive to them. Insensitive people are the worst communicators. If you are insensitive, you do not care what others will feel about what you say. Therefore, instead of building relationships, not listening effectively can burn them. To learn how to listen effectively, the following steps can be done.
- Do not be in a hurry to say what you think of another’s words, be patient in listening. Give time to the speaker to finish talking about what he wishes to say. If you butt in, seizing the pauses for example, you may disturb his train of thought and he may not be able to articulate well his ideas instead.
- Sit down and have a comfortable composure. Avoid being distracted by a posture that takes you attention away too often. Sit comfortably without crossing your arms and legs. This will express to another you willingness to listen.
- Clear up your mind of any subjective notions or prejudices. Do not immediately judge a person’s words based on what you know about his past. In fact, take it as truth first before you can actually find out its validity later. Otherwise, you close your mind to what he wants to say. That is not listening at all. It is not enough that you lend him your ears. You should open your mind too.
- Show encouraging gestures or say words to express that you understand what is being said. Do not do anything that will show your disinterest. Instead, nod your head in instances that you absorbed what the other is saying. You may also use words such as ‘I see’, ‘I understand’, or even just ‘yes’ or ‘no’.
Correlate to the speaker. By reflecting back to the speaker what he was saying, you validate what you heard. There are times when you wrongly interpreted what is said but by restating it to the speaker, he may validate it. Besides, this gesture proves that you are really listening.