Listening Skills in Communication
Attention Getter: Listening is a very important skill for every individual to have. Most people are often preoccupied with voicing their opinion in every matter to everyone without taking a step back and figuring out what others have to say or contribute. Good listening skills are very rare to find in most people, and they tend to neglect to try to improve them.
Reason to Listen: It is important, for the sake of good communication, that the speaker feels that he or she has the full attention of the audience.
Thesis Statement: Listeners should try and improve their listening skills as it will enhance effective communication and reduce the chances of a misunderstanding between them and the speaker.
Credibility Statement: Listening skills have been an important asset to each person in the workplace and social scene.
Preview of Main Points:
I will discuss the various listening styles available.
I will look into the various steps of improving listening skills.
Transition: I will start off by looking into the various listening styles
For a successful dialogue or communication to take place, listening will have to play a critical part. The speaker should be aware that the message they are putting across is being received well. There are various types of listening that can be applied which are active listening, reflective listening, and critical listening (Brown, 2013). It is of importance to know the difference between the three types and how best to incorporate them so as to improve our personal listening skills.
Active listening is where the listening gives complete attention to the speaker while communicating. The listener will have to put aside thoughts of what to say in response and concentrate on understanding the message (Brown, 2013). Non-verbal cues are important in active listening as they will show the speaker that they have our full attention. Besides, gestures and facial expressions are some of the ways that can be used to acknowledge full participation to the speaker.
Reflective listening, on the other hand, is somehow similar to active listening as it involves giving full attention to the speaker. The variation comes in that here, the listener will have to mirror the emotions and subtle cues given by the speaker to show that the listener is fully attentive to what they are saying.
Finally, critical listening is different from the other two types as it involves having active judgment and opinions when the speaker is talking (Everest, 2007). It is mainly used in decision-making where the listeners are expected to come up with ideas and offer solutions to what is being discussed by the speaker.
Transition: Now I will look into the steps that a person can take to improve their listening skills.
As we seek to improve our listening skills, there are steps that we should follow to achieve that.
First, it is widely known that we should never interrupt anyone while he or she is speaking. It is rude to do so as it will disrupt the train of thought of the speaker, and it will show them that the listener is not entirely engaged in them. Completely listening to someone is important as it will afford them the time to pass on the message and the listener will have a chance to understand and find a suitable response to the message.
Second, listeners should use inviting body language in a bid to encourage the speaker to be comfortable and know that they have the audience’s full attention. Moreover, maintaining eye contact, uncrossing arms, and facing them will affirm them that you as the listeners are fully engaged in listening (Kelley, K. & Kelley, M., 2013). There are listeners who maintain a negative body language which the speaker can interpret as being hostile and will lead to him or her being unwilling to continue with the speech.
Third, by using active listening skills such as nodding and affirmative language will be helpful in the conversation. The speaker will be able to know that there is no misunderstanding between the two parties and clarify any part that seems to cause confusion.
Another step to pursue is stopping everything else and focusing on the speaker. Actions such as writing, texting, and talking should be put aside as it might distract the speaker and more importantly will hinder the listener from getting the message being put across.
Finally, paraphrasing and repeating what has been said by the speaker will be a good way to respond when they have finished talking or asked for a response from the listener (WegerJr, Castle, & Emmett, 2010). It is important to do this as it will appease the speaker as he or she will know that you were fully attentive to their speech.
Review of the Main Points:
I have discussed the different techniques of listening i.e. active, reflective, and critical.
Besides, I have looked into the steps to be taken by anyone seeking to improve their listening skills.
Restate Thesis Statement: Listeners should try and improve their listening skills as it will enhance effective communication and reduce the chances of a misunderstanding between them and the speaker.
Closure: In conclusion, it is evident that listening skills are essential to any individual as they will encounter it at some point. Knowing which styles to employ at different times is crucial in that a person will be able to figure out which situations need specific techniques. Even more, active and reflective listening styles can be incorporated in almost similar circumstances where no reply or opinion is required. Critical listening is necessary for situations where decision-making is required. Good listening skills are valuable to every individual as they will be able to have the perfect set of competencies to get information in any scenario. The steps that have been suggested to improve the listening skills are few but detailed and should be followed closely by every person who wishes to see an improvement in how they participate in communication through their listening skills.
Brown, B. S. (2013). Realizing Dreams from A-z: Principles for Excellence. Author house. Retrieved from https://books.google.co.ke/books?id=AePKAQAAQBAJ&pg=PA100&dq=active+reflect ive+critical+listening&hl=en&sa=X&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=active%20reflective% 20critical%20listening&f=false
Everest, F. A. (2007). Critical listening skills for audio professionals. Boston, MA: Thomson Course Technology. Retrieved from https://books.google.co.ke/books?id=rPsoAQAAMAAJ&q=critical+listening&dq=critica l+listening&hl=en&sa=X&sqi=2&redir_esc=y
Kelley, K. J., & Kelley, M. F. (2013).Teaching empathy and other compassion-based communication skills. Journal for Nurses in Professional Development, 29(6), 321-324. Retrieved from http://journals.lww.com/jnsdonline/Abstract/2013/11000/Teaching_Empathy_and_Other _Compassion_Based.9.aspx
WegerJr, H., Castle, G. R., & Emmett, M. C. (2010). Active listening in peer interviews: The influence of message paraphrasing on perceptions of listening skill. The Intl. Journal of Listening, 24(1), 34-49. Retrieved from http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/10904010903466311