Listening skills are the ability to understand what is being said. We have different styles of listening that vary from person to person. Some people prefer listening carefully and in detail, while some prefer a more relaxed style of just hearing the content. In professional life, understanding exactly what another person is saying becomes important as it could affect your work and results perhaps never expected. Good Listening skills are the basic requirement to understand what is being communicated. It's important because it builds on your level of confidence and helps you excel in life. You could work better in teams, feel relaxed when talking to people, improve relationships, and many more things which you would experience if you had good listening skills.
Some of the factors that affect listening skills are distractions (colors, objects), the speaker's accent or language, background noise (music or traffic), and many others. If you're new to a place with different accents, it's important for you to tune yourself towards new accents until they become familiar to your ears. It becomes necessary for us to increase our listening skills as we do more and more multitasking.
You could become a better listener, which would help you in achieving your goals and objectives. When you learn to listen, actually, it means that you're learning to understand things better and live life with greater satisfaction and enjoyment. You would be able to improve relationships with family, friends, and colleagues if you're a student because studies greatly affect performance.
There is a huge difference between what is happening around us and what we hear as our brains easily get distracted from external environmental sounds or accents or colors or odd words etc.
There is no one standard skill set for becoming an effective listener, yet there are some common things that you can practice regularly to increase your listening skills. Remember, if you want to build anything, first you need a strong foundation, and it's the same for your skill sets. You would require focused attention on the other person like he/she is the only thing that exists in this world (for at least 5-7 minutes). Another thing that you could try is repeating what has been said. It helps our brain organize information into patterns that improve understanding. This works well with children, too, as they tend to forget new words easily, so repeating them back gives them a chance to remember them better. If you have any questions, ask them; try to avoid asking questions that were already answered; however, there could be something unclear. If you're not able to repeat what has been said or have additional questions, you need to find out the main points being communicated. It would help you connect better with people around you.
Trying these things out regularly would improve your listening skills and help you excel in life. So give it a shot!
Here we have brought you some selective listening exercises which would help you in an effective way to improve your listening skills:
1) Sit comfortably on your chair and listen carefully to the person who is speaking on television or radio or even talking on the telephone without interruption. You may pick up a newspaper article and read it while hearing the same audio simultaneously so that you can compare what you read with what you hear.
2) Listening without responding, i.e., interrupting the speaker by asking questions or making comments, is another way of practicing your listening skills. For this, pick an interesting subject to begin with, and then let the other person go on for 5-6 minutes in his/her discussion or talk. Then close your eyes and try to recall in your mind everything that he/she said during this time period. Ask yourself if you have missed anything important in their discussion or speech? Re-listen to it carefully until you are sure that you have understood them completely. Now ask the person questions about any part which you think is important but is not clear enough to understand well.
3) Answering a question with a question is another exercise that you can practice to increase your listening skills. Have a friend or colleague who knows your interests well ask 5-6 questions on some subject of common interest for the both of you. Pick up one from the list and answer it by asking a related question in response rather than just stating or giving an answer.
4) In groups, ask everyone to recall what has been said during a discussion or presentation by others. See if there are any differences in what different people have perceived about this topic? Ask them later to compare their notes and see which information was correct and which was not that helpful in learning something new about the topic. This helps us understand that we all perceive things differently and listen to each other with an open mind.
5) While working on a project or discussing with friends, ask questions designed to extend your knowledge beyond what you have already learned about the topic. For this, try talking less during group discussions so as to give others time to share their ideas. When everyone is done expressing his/her views on the topic, you can sum up by giving your own thoughts based on what you have heard from others. Try quoting some of the things said by them rather than just paraphrasing it in your words.
6) To avoid missing important information while taking notes or writing something, listen carefully to each part of a sentence before putting it into your notebook or computer screen. Start taking notes or writing after you are sure that you have heard the complete thought. Generally, people start writing as soon as they hear something and end up missing some crucial information that could be important later.
7) Ask questions about what has been communicated to us in our native language, whether it is English or Spanish, or any other local dialect. After all, we learn it with the help of listening skills. Try asking for this type of clarification on your own when reading a passage. For example - "I don't think I've understood properly; please repeat/explain again slowly."
8) Place a mirror behind you when having a conversation with someone face-to-face so that it forces you to concentrate on what the other person is saying instead of staring at them or checking your emails.
9) For this exercise, ask your friend to whisper something in one ear while you are talking with him on a different topic. Then repeat what he just whispered into your other ear before continuing the ongoing conversation. This way, you are able to hear everything that was communicated clearly without being distracted by his or her ongoing talk.
10) While listening to an audiobook, movie, or any other recording on CD or digital file, try watching some not very interesting video clips so you can have both the inputs simultaneously. If you really want to get good at it, then try watching a foreign language film with subtitles in English so that there is no distraction from the video and audio portions.
The more you practice this listening technique, the sooner you will notice an improvement in your listening skills because every step counts if you are learning anything new. But, don't forget to keep practicing! It might not happen immediately, but it is worth trying. You never know where you might find yourself needing good listening skills next time. There are several other ways through which we can improve our listening skills like - concentrating on what is being communicated, using body language to show that you are paying attention, asking for clarification or repetition if needed, avoiding distractions like mobile phones during a conversation, etc. Try practicing them as well, if you can. Anything can be achieved with effective practice and, to become a good listener, you have to practice every day; good things take time.
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Hello, everyone! I’m Celina, an educationist and academic consultant. I enjoy reading, learning, and implementing the same in the assignments. I also take a lot of pride in guiding students with their assignments. I have 6 years of experience in writing assignments for students and when not doing that I follow my passion for blogging. I spent my spare time often researching new trends of writing.
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