Listening is key to all effective communication. Without the ability to listen effectively, messages are easily misunderstood. As a result, communication breaks down and the sender of the message can easily become frustrated or irritated.
If there is one communication skill you should aim to master, then listening is it.
In all relationships, communicating is not so much about what you say, but what your listeners hear.
Since social media and digital marketing are a never-ending circle of talking and listening, it helps if you know what listening really is.
Table of Contents
- 1 8 Strategies For Active Listening Skills
- 1.1 Importance of Listening Skills
- 1.2 Listening Strategy
- 1.3 Strategies For Active Listening Include The Following:
- 1.3.1 1. Maintain close eye contact with the speaker
- 1.3.2 2. Do not interrupt the speaker
- 1.3.3 3. Control body language
- 1.3.4 4. Do not let worry, fear, or anger get in the way
- 1.3.5 5. Those with a lack of attention span can have trouble listening
- 1.3.6 6. Ask good questions
- 1.3.7 7. Keep yourself from judging what the other person is saying
- 1.3.8 8. Put yourself in their shoes
- 1.4 Four  Listening Styles Communicators Should Know
- 1.5 CONCLUSION
8 Strategies For Active Listening Skills
I hear from you!
“I hear you” is a common phrase, but listening is different from hearing.
Hearing involves sound waves, eardrums, the cochlea and thousands of tiny hair cells that turn vibrations into electrical signals. These signals tell the brain you are hearing a noise, and identify what the noise is.
Yes, it’s complicated (thank you, evolution), but if you’ve been in a relationship or two, you know listening is even harder.
We often say one thing when we mean another. Maybe we’re shy, don’t like confrontation, or are just really passive aggressive.
But when we say one thing and mean another, our bodies give us away: We fidget, sweat, inflect our voices or avoid eye contact.
That is all well and good when you’re face to face with someone (or a trained detective), but when you comment on a blog or interact on social media, others don’t have the luxury of seeing those physical tics.
Importance of Listening Skills
Good listening skills are very important in an organization because workers are able to understand what the management or the board members expect them to do.
So by doing this, good listening skills makes the workers of the organization to be more productive in the sense that it enables the workers to boost their productivity more effectively.
The usefulness of effective listening skills for employees and managers cannot be overemphasized.
The ability and capability to comprehend also allow workers to join hand together with coworkers, manager and clients.
Employers and workers have confidence in workers that listen to instruction and they do his or her possible best to achieve the organization goals.
The United States Department of Labor Secretary’s Commission on Achieving Necessary Skills (SCANS) identified five competencies and three foundation skills that are essential for those entering the workforce.
Listening skills were among the foundation skills SCANS identified as being critical.
Good listeners can also have a better track record resolving issues with customers. Everything done in an organization includes two-way communication which is speaking and listening.
Two-way communications are very critical in the sense that it can input efficiency and effectiveness in the workers to achieve organizational goals.
Member of a team’s or organization performs diligently when they were able to follow the two-way communications.
That is they are able to listen as well as speak effectively, therefore they are more likely to perform well in their tasks to achieve the team or organization goals.
Effective communications are all about understanding what is being discussed, not just who speak out.
However, when there is competition between two teams member, two individual teams are assigned with a different portion of tasks.
The team that listen well and perform accordingly will find their work result better than those that misunderstood it. Therefore workers who listen well tend to work better in a team-based environment
Look at it this way: Hearing is the practical, and listening is the strategy. And as with most things strategic, there’s more than one way to listen.
Strategies For Active Listening Include The Following:
1. Maintain close eye contact with the speaker
This will demonstrate to the speaker that the listener is paying attention.
A good listener knows that being attentive to what the speaker doesn’t say is as important as being attentive to what he does say.
Look for nonverbal cues such as facial expressions and posture to get the full list of what the speaker is saying.
2. Do not interrupt the speaker
Focus your full attention on the other person talking. Face them and maintain eye contact, and be sure you are at the same level.
If they are standing – you should stand if they are sitting – you should sit.
3. Control body language
As much as possible, sit still while listening. This implies that the listener is paying full attention to the speaker. A nod of the head can be good, as it implies agreement.
4. Do not let worry, fear, or anger get in the way
Some people are resistant to change and that can interfere with listening. worries, fear or anger can distract people from listening properly.
5. Those with a lack of attention span can have trouble listening
Make sure this is not related to the fact that it is someone else’s idea being listened to. Workers need to be mindful of their reactions
6. Ask good questions
Don’t accuse or blame in your questioning. Try to look for hidden meaning. Ask open-ended questions and make sure your tone of voice is sincere.
For example, “What do you think we should do about the situation? What do you feel are the options?”
7. Keep yourself from judging what the other person is saying
Try not to assume that you know what they mean or what they are thinking.
Sometimes it helps to repeat back to the other person what they just said but in your own words. That way you are checking to see if you have heard them correctly.
This can provide more information and the other person has a chance to correct any misunderstandings. It also shows that you are interested in what they are saying.
8. Put yourself in their shoes
Accept their feelings, thoughts and ideas about the situation, whether or not you agree or share the same perspective.
This does not mean you ‘give in’ to the other person. It does, however, let them know that you acknowledge what they are saying, feeling or thinking.
Four  Listening Styles Communicators Should Know
Here are four (of many) types of listening styles communicators should know, you should know which type of listening to use in every situation, as well as how to use those skills to your advantage
1. Appreciative Listening
Appreciative listening simply means listening to enjoy the story, music or information you hear. These listening styles are exactly what the name implies.
The American Society for Training and Development recommends that to truly embark in appreciative listening, you should avoid engaging in other communications and focus solely on the sounds or words.
So, when someone is speaking to you, put your phone down!
2. Critical Listening
Critical listening simply means hearing what someone says. i.e identifying the key points of an argument or opinion.
Think of a debate or how you listen when politicians speak.
When you engage in critical listening, your goal is to analyze what the speaker is saying and determine his agenda.
3. Relationship Listening
Relationship listening is one of the most important skills to have when dealing with people.
This is also known as therapeutic or empathetic listening.
You would use relationship listening to help a friend through a problem, solve a conflict between co-workers or prompt people to open up through support and honesty.
4. Discriminative Listening
Discriminative listening is when you look past the words you hear to detect the underlying message. It might be one of the most important types of listening for online marketers.
This works best in person, as you can look to body language, tone changes and volume to determine what the speaker really thinks and feels.
However, these days we’re not often face-to-face with clients or customers. We need to adapt to become better online discriminative listeners as we engage more and more via texts, Facebook comments and snappy tweets.
Understanding the difference between hearing and listening is a vital skill, whether you deal with people in the boardroom or through comments on your brand’s blog.
Communication is very essential in an organization and the importance of listening skill is listed above.
Listening involves more than just hearing, it also involves responding to what someone is saying. This process is called active listening.
Active listening takes time and practice. However, every time you use active listening, it gets a little easier. It can help you to navigate through difficult conversations.
More than that, it helps improve overall communication, builds a better understanding and ultimately leads to better relationships with family, friends and co-workers.