Did you know that adults spend an average of 70% of their time engaged in some sort of communication, of this an average of 45% is spent listening compared to 30% speaking, 16% reading and 9% writing. (Adler, R. et al. 2001).

Many leaders and entrepreneurs credit their success to good listening skills. Sir Richard Branson frequently quotes listening as one of the main factors behind the success of Virgin. Effective listening is a skill that underpins all positive human relationships, spend some time thinking about and developing your listening skills – they are the building blocks of success.

Listening is Not the Same as Hearing.

Hearing is the biological mechanism of using auditory sense that we have developed. Listening is much deeper than just collecting sound through ears. Listening is not only about what is being said, but also to what is left unsaid or only partially said. Effective listening involves observing body language and noticing inconsistencies between verbal and non-verbal messages. This is most important aspect of Listening.

“If we were supposed to talk more than we listen, we would have two tongues and one ear.” Mark Twain.

Lot has been written about Effective Listening. -
Top 10 Mantras to develop habit of Effective listening.

1. STOP Talking :

Zip up your mouth completely. Allow other person to finish their sentences before you pitch in. This is just simple manners.

2. Prepare to Listen :

Take a deep breath and fill oxygen in your lungs. Try to put other thoughts in parking lot and give complete attention to your speaker. Be in the moment, don’t allow mind to wander and think of other thoughts.

3. Put the speaker to ease :

Keep a gentle smile on your face and allow the speaker to be open and honest to you. Your body language must allow the speaker to be on ease. Use gestures like nodding, asking questions to convey that you are listening. This moment is for the speaker.

4. Remove distractions :

Don’t fidget with your mobile phone, don’t take calls in the middle. Simply Bad manners. Give the moment to your speaker. Give importance to the person infront of you and not the one over the phone.

5. Empathise :

Understand the speaker’s issues from their perspective. Keep an open and honest mind. Don’t start objecting the speaker immediately. Understand their view point first and then formulate a well informed view to respond back.

6. Avoid personal prejudice :

Most of the times, conflict arise due to conflicting personal prejudices, personal values. Be neutral and impartial.

7. Be Patient :

People have different speaking styles, sometimes pause may not mean completion of speaker.

8. Listen to the tone :

Tonality, inflection, volume, pitch are all influenced by our emotional state of mind at the time. Observe all of these before you can respond. Sometimes statements like - “I observed you are pretty angry about what happened” could help the person to calm down.

9. Listen for inner emotion and not just the words :

Maybe one of the most difficult aspects of listening is the ability to link together pieces of information to reveal the ideas of others. With proper concentration, letting go of distractions, and focus this becomes easier.

10. Observe the non-verbal communication :

Gestures, body language, eye movements are very critical. You know that crime investigators use the non-verbal communication to understand criminal minds. Try to watch and pick up additional information being transmitted via non-verbal communication.

Part 2: Find out what type of Listener you are … to be published in next article.

Vijay ketan Mitra

CEO, Founder and Executive Coach

Vijay is a visionary leader who drives the business and growth at PositiveShift International. Vijay is also a Business/Startup coach, who helps people to build scalable ventures.