Thursday, August 5, 2010

Tips for listening better

Tips for listening better
By: Marissa Anteby

We know there's a difference between hearing someone and truly listening to what they're saying. But what are the ways in which we can improve our listening skills? Is there active steps we can take to become better listeners? Yes, sure there are. Like anything, practicing is the key to mastery.

Being aware of yourself and how you interact with the world around you, specifically, the people closest to you, will give you clues as to your 'listening style.' Observe yourself; do you look at people when they are talking to you? Or are you easily distracted, finding it necessary to multitask every instant? You can cultivate a more fulfilled way of existing by starting with how you listen.

You may find the following pointers helpful on your journey to better listening:
1- Use all of your senses while listening, particularly sight and sound.
2- 'Listen' with your eyes to the talker's body language.
3- Notice if judgments arise in your mind. This could be any thought with a personal bias attached to your opinion.
4- Notice if discernments arise in your mind. This could be any thought that helps you appreciate the talker's individuality or unique nuances, without grouping or labeling them.
5- Be aware of the content, tone, pitch, volume, rate, and pace of speech. Recognize your likes and dislikes.
6- While the person is speaking, try not to interrupt. Save your questions and comments for when they are finished. Listen actively, instead of formulating your response while half-listening.
7- Focus your attention on the words being spoken. If your mind wanders off, bring it back to the present moment by following the words.
8- Practice on a daily basis and see how you progress over time.

Making a conscious effort to be aware and truly listen is not easy, but it can be done. We as a society are programmed to 'do.' However, it is an innate quality in each of us to just 'be,' without having to 'do.' So continue mindfully evolving and eventually you will return full circle to your individual state of 'being,' from which, you can listen fully.

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