Tips for Better Listening During International Listening Month
March is International Listening Month. Many studies have shown that listening better in the workplace leads to more effective communication and success – but few people really take the time to work on their listening skills and nonverbal communication.
According to the International Listening Association and Credit Donkey, people spend between 70 and 80 percent of their day engaged in some form of communication, with 55 percent of their time used for listening. But people only tend to remember just 17 to 25 percent of the things they listen to. This can be drastically improved, however, with practice.
So how can you better improve your listening skills? Below are a few tips on how to improve your workplace communication skills:
- Remove external noise that may interfere. Conversations, phones ringing, fax machines, music, or any external noise can interfere with listening. Remove yourself from the situation, or remove the items that are being distracting in order to hear better.
- Move away from visual distractions. Similarly, visual distractions like people moving around can take away from the listening experience. Try to keep visual distractions out of your eye line.
- Don’t touch nearby objects. Fiddling with pocket change, pens, and jewelry can cause distractions and also make the person speaking think you’re not listening.
- Pay attention to the person speaking. Distractions can come from the other person’s personal appearance, mannerisms, voice, or gestures. Work through this by concentrating on their words and what they mean.
- Remove your own self-centeredness. Don’t just focus on your own thoughts rather than the speaker’s words. Keep an open mind and think outside of the box of yourself and absorb what the words mean to everyone around you.
- Reduce mental laziness and boredom. Laziness creates an unwillingness to listen to complex or detailed information and boredom stems from a lack of interest in the speaker’s subject matter. Sometimes the information isn’t super interesting but essential and it must be heard.
- Recognize your cognitive dissonance. Cognitive dissonance happens when a listener hears only what he or she expects or molds the speaker’s message to conform with their own beliefs. Don’t allow this to happen, as it could prevent you from understanding crucial information.
- Be patient. Everyone communicates differently. Listeners can become impatient with a speaker who talks slowly or draws out the message, but try to be patient with them as they express their ideas.
Focusing on your listening skills will provide multiple benefits to yourself and your colleagues around you. To improve them, check out HRDQ’s “Learning to Listen” product, which evaluates current skill level, shows individuals how to take an active role in the listening process, and then provides ample opportunities for practice and development of key communication skills.
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For help with communication overall, HRDQ’s “Building the Communication Bridge” helps people understand the fundamental components of the communication process. They will learn the characteristics of four communication styles, identify personal communication style, develop strategies for communicating with people who have different styles, and learn how to apply effective speaking and listening skills to a variety of organizational situations.
Learn more here: