How to Become an Effective Communicator -Practice Makes Perfect - Part 6

Effective Listening is an art. It is a skill that you will learn with patience and practice. It is not innate and you will be foolhardy to expect that you may build the aptitude overnight. 

Listening is Practice:
How well we listen to others will depend on our motivation to listen, the circumstances of the communication, and to some extent our personality too.
The key to developing your skills in listening is practice. 

Without practice and conscious effort, an individual's listening skills will not get better over time. 

As an individual goes through life, their capacity for listening is likely to improve. Whether they utilise this capacity and actually listen more effectively depends on their personality, their particular situation, and avoiding any bad habits, they may have picked up along the way.

Hearing is not listening:
Hearing is a passive process. You do it without even thinking about it. Listening, on the other hand, is an active process and a learnt skill. Your brain has to work harder to process the information that you hear and see to understand the meaning of the message.

Understanding is the goal of listening.

Anyone can be a good listener:
To be a good listener, a person may have to work on their emotional intelligence. individuals with higher emotional
People with high levels of emotional intelligence are more likely to be better listeners. Emotional intelligence refers to an individual's ability to assess, identify and manage their emotions and the emotions of other people. 

Most people tend to overestimate their own listening abilities
and underestimate those of others. We tend to think that we are better listeners than other people. 

No one is born a good listener. Without practice and training, we are unlikely to be a particularly effective listener.

Healthy communication involves overcoming interaction barriers and conveying a clear and concise message.

Communication can become distorted if what the speaker communicates may not come across as they planned or intended. 

Similarly, the listener may not receive the message in exactly the way the speaker intended. 

It's therefore, extremely important that the speaker asks for feedback to ensure that their message has been clearly understood.

Active listening, clarification, and reflection will also help, but the skilled communicator also needs to be aware of the barriers to effective communication and how to overcome them.

NEXT: What are the common barriers to communicating effectively?