Enhance your Listening Skills to improve your Communication

I had two amazing experiences last week. They both reaffirmed the importance of enhancing  our listening skills. One was from a communication skills training session we were conducting for our client. And the second one, was from a movie I was watching on Sunday evening.

The First Experience

I started off the session with a fun activity that I conduct as a part of many of our communication skills training sessions. It gives some great insights into the barriers we face during communication. And that’s precisely what happened that day!

So, what happened? The class did not listen to my instructions and landed up doing something quite contrary to what I had asked them to! Why? Because they were in a hurry. They were competing against each other to submit their entries so that they could qualify. However, their haste gave way to waste! And they all got disqualified for assuming the rules instead of paying attention to what was actually asked.

The Second Experience

It was Sunday evening and I decided to watch a cute ‘Christmassy’ movie with my family. To my horror, the cute movie turned out to be one with a rather lot of conflict! It was about a family who goes on a vacation for Christmas. They want to spend quality time together, but land up bickering and accusing one another of doing just the opposite!

Well, the movie did not turn out to be what I expected. But nonetheless, it provided a good learning experience. It very realistically showed how we tend to ignore one another, especially during difficult conversations. We are not open to listening to each other and tend to stick to our point of view. Why? Because we are emotionally in pain and are feeling unheard ourselves. Which makes it almost impossible for us to listen to the other. In short, the perfect recipe for creating strained relationships!

Improving our Listening Skills  

So, how do we improve our listening skills to enhance our communication? Let me tell you…

  • Watch yourself closely

    Try to observe yourself carefully to figure out the situations where you tend to have difficulty in listening. Is it around a particular person or in a typical situation? Also try and get aware of where your mind goes when you are not listening. Its great fun escaping from having to interact with people you don’t like or situations that make you uncomfortable! But is that really helping you move forward in life?

  • Manage your Emotions

    Emotions can create havoc in our communication. They somehow pop up at the wrong time and prevent us from being able to truly listen to the opposite person. And that’s why it’s so important to manage them on a daily basis. Doing so helps us keep them under check and saves us from embarrassing outbursts that many of us tend to go through!

  • Keep Distractions at Bay

    Our attention spans are growing shorter by the day. And that’s no wonder with the number of distractions we have around and within us! There is a constant flow of notifications on our phones and laptops and to add to it, our incessant urge to keep checking our phones again and again. We also have an amazing ability to fantasize and terrorise ourselves with thoughts about the future. Not to forget regrets of the past! These keep us from paying attention to the conversation at hand and also weaken our ability to listen in the long run.

  • Ask more Questions

    This can prove to be an extremely powerful strategy. When you are finding it difficult to listen and your attention is going here and there and everywhere, start asking questions. It will bring you back to the present moment. And if your attention is straying out of boredom, it may help you get yourself back in the conversation again. Besides, it will help the speaker channelize the conversation, and shift it to a space that’s more relatable to you!

  • Practice Listening

  • This is one of the most powerful things you can do to improve your listening skills. Listen to the sounds around you without judging them. Try to focus on conversations you are a part of. And once you get good at these, go to the next level. Listen to what’s happening inside you. Your thoughts, emotions and physical sensations. Cultivate this habit of listening intently. And see the results it yields.

So, those were my power packed listening skills enhancing tips. Use them and do write back to tell me how they helped. Happy Listening!

"Listening Skills – 5 Powerful Tips for enhancing them" - By The Yellow Spot - - No Comments