Are you a meaning-making machine ?

How to Become an Effective Communicator -Practice Makes Perfect - Part 2

Your expertise at "Communication" can either build your relationships or destroy them. The very basic of effective communication is "Listening". A person's inability to listen carefully can lead to miscommunication, misunderstandings and destroy your relationship equilibrium.

Active listening is perhaps the most difficult technique to master. It is an art that requires time and patience to develop.
It requires practice and concerted attention to develop skills that enable you to not only listen to the words being communicated but also the emotion behind the words in terms of what is being said.

In our busy lives, we are naturally prone to becoming preoccupied with our own thoughts and emotions. If a person is
talking to us, it's often all too easy to get distracted and not
pay close attention to what the other person is saying.

HEARING IS NOT THE SAME AS LISTENING

Hearing refers to the sounds that we hear, as supposed to
listening- which requires more than that. Listening requires
that we pay attention to the meaning of what we're
hearing; that we consider not just to the words that are
being spoken, but also to how they are being spoken - the
use of voice, language, and body language.

Effective listening requires that we pay close attention to
inconsistencies between verbal and non-verbal messages.

For example, if someone shares with you that they're
happy and fulfilled in their marriage, but they communicate this with tear-filled eyes or an unsure body language, their verbal and non-verbal messages are conflicting, so perhaps they don’t actually mean what they're saying.


The actual process of effective listening requires 4 parts of one process.
Apprehension: The shared communication protocol between the communicators. What is said, what is listened to and the segmentation of the communication.

Retention: Memory is not infallible. Different people experience and remember different perspectives of the same situation. Therefore, retaining what is important of communication is key to effective listening.

Response: 
Tactics involve not only listening to the words effectively but also noticing the tone, expression, behavior and body language of the person who is communicating with you to get an accurate read of exactly what is being communicated. This can also be achieved by paraphrasing the speaker so you can get the gist of what is spoken confirmed but also asking open-ended questions to confirm the tone and feeling behind the communication.

Coming up NEXT... Tools to help you Actively Listen.