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Listening to people these days has somewhat lost its touch. Probably due to how much we rely on electronic devices to communicate. The ability to listen can help you in every aspect of your life, be it the workplace, with friends, families, and meeting new people.

Listening helps you better understand a person and communicate effectively. This being a result of its implication of using the message being received. And just so we are on the same page, hearing does differ from listening and the difference lies in concentration and attention. Many have lost jobs, friends, relationships because they could not hone their listening skills. Let’s look at some ways to be an effective listener:

Be in the moment:

Everyone gets easily distracted these days with all the devices around us. This tends to draw our attention away from conversations. So, turn off your phone and computer, be fully present. Don’t check your emails or think about activities out of the conversation. This will help you to plan your answers and react well when needed. Bear in mind that 55% of communication is nonverbal. Most people can easily see if you are not interested in the conversation

Make your mind a Tabula Rasa(Blank Sheet):

Thinking requires a clear mind to help you organize your thoughts. The art of Listening has to be combined with thinking i.e. processing what is being said and having appropriate answers and question to show for it and be able to contribute to the discussion

Try to “Improv”:

It is a form of live theatre in which the plot, characters, and dialogue are made up at the moment. If you find it difficult to listen, try out improvs, it’s the very best example of good listening and here’s why: you do not know what will be said next on stage and therefore, your train of thoughts must be in line and in the moment so you can give a witty comeback.

Be open-minded:

Go into every conversation with no judgments or agendas. To form an opinion from the conversation, you need to see the world from the other person’s perspective. Don’t brag or judge as it will dampen the conversation. Being open-minded brings trust and respect.
Listening allows you to ease into the world of other people, lets you understand their motives, beliefs, their personality.