Effective listening is challenging. Although listening is naturally something that does not require extra effort, however, hard work is still needed for effective listening. Below are some of the useful tips that can be considered if you are trying to improve your listening skill.
Firstly, you should concentrate on what others are trying to say. When you are listening to someone, do not wander off by thinking about a task that is near deadline and what to have for lunch. Instead, you should give the speaker full concentration in order to catch exactly what the person wants to tell you.
Secondly, you should send the nonverbal message to the speaker that you are listening. Nonverbal message is by making eye contact with the speaker, nodding your head while listening as a form of agreement to the content spoke and also body language. Being interactive with the speaker helps you to communicate effectively with the speaker.
Next, avoid early evaluations. When someone is listening, they often evaluate faster than the speaker as listener listens at a faster rate. It is important to avoid early evaluation when listening to a person whom you disagree of. This is to avoid any unnecessary misinterpretation in the remaining information and distort the intended meaning.
Last but not the least, you should not be getting defensive during a conversation. When a comment is given, whether it is a personal point of view or a mutual stand, you should listen carefully to the remainder before jumping into the conclusion.
Spending too much time explaining, elaborating, defending your stand and point with the speaker is definitely not a sign that you are listening. This is because you have switched your role from being a listener to convincing the speaker that they are wrong. Effective listener should have the ability to listen calmly at other person even if it is offering unjust criticism.