This is going to be a series of blogs on the importance of communication skills in the corporate sector, every engineer's dream,coming up every weekend on Saturday. Part I deals with Listening Skills.
“An open ear is the only believable sign of an open heart”-David Augsburger
You may ask, why is something as basic as listening supposed to be a skill? Or interpretation, in fact? Aren't these supposed to be basic human tendencies?
Yes, they are supposed to be basic human tendencies, indeed. But not all of us are good with them.
So, how can I be a good listener?
There are some simple yet effective ways to become everyone's favorite listener!
The biggest respect you can give someone is by showing that you have genuine interest in what they are saying. Do not concentrate on stray things while your speaker is talking. Give them your full focus and try to remember everything they say, if you cannot, note it down. Having to repeat anything is the biggest peeve for most of us, so make sure you don't let your speaker go through that!
Don't maintain a stoic and expressionless face. Nod when you understand, and smile if the speaker says something funny. Remember, a good speaker notices the facial and body expressions of their listener. Never tap your hand on the bench, look at your watch, or shake your leg. It distracts your speaker and degrades their self confidence.
Never discuss anything, even if it is related to the topic, with your friends, while the speaker is continuing. It will make them feel as if their discussion is not interesting enough for your attention. Keep all your discussions postponed till the end of the speech.
If you have questions, it will show that you actually paid attention and analysed what they said,instead of just hearing what they had to say. However, do not ask questions that might be interpreted as repetitive or pointless, because that points to your lack of skills as a listener.
Having insightful questions is something every speaker is proud of. But never interrupt their flow to ask questions. Every speech has a stipulated time for questions after it's over. Reserve your questions for that. Raise your hand and politely put forward your question, if any.
A speaker always interacts with their audience in the form of short simple questions. Definitely involve yourself in this, but also learn to differentiate between which questions are to be answered and which questions are supposed to be rhetoric. If you answer to a question the speaker had planned to answer, then you destroy their flow. Pay attention to the tone of the question to understand this.
Noting things enhances a speaker's confidence, but don't do just that. It will make them feel like you're not giving them, the extra effort they're giving, any importance. It will make them feel like you only care about the content of their speech. So make sure to balance your focus.
Your listening skills will also show how concentrated you are as a person. Interviewers always notice such details,and sometimes, your job can hang on a thin string because of these. So make sure to develop your attitude, if you're not confident about it.
Next part, interpretation skills, will be up next Saturday. Thank You for reading.