What are the main types of effective listening?
There are essentially three types of careful listening that you will want to follow. They are paraphrasing, open questioning, and feeling reflection. The first of these, paraphrasing, is mainly just re-stating what someone has said in your own words. To use an example, someone might say something along the lines of, “I can’t believe he just quit his job. What a mistake he has made!” In response, you might say, “So you seem to think he quitting his job was a bad idea.” This is an example of paraphrasing. You have just clarified something that the speaker has said.
In a nutshell, paraphrasing is re-stating what a speaker has just said – not repeating verbatim, but putting it in to your own words.
Then there is open questioning. By asking an open question, we are re-affirming something that the speaker has just said by asking a question that does not necessarily require a yes or no answer. The main difference between an open and a closed question is that the former allows the speaker to re-evaluate what they have just said in more detail, while a closed question does not provide that kind of impetus to reflection.
Oftentimes, closed questions force us to speak before we are really ready to respond in depth to what we have been asked. Closed questions are also those questions that will naturally come with a “yes” or “no” response, and thus do not require that much depth. Whereas closed questions close the door on further thought and conversation, open questions effectively open that door. An example of an open question might be “What is it about your job that you dislike so much?” after a speaker has announced that they do not like their job.
Finally, there is feeling reflection. This is a method of active listening in which you express an emotion you have experienced as a result of something that has been said by the speaker. If the speaker says that they are tired of having to work overtime so often, you might respond by saying, “I’m with you on that one!” That is a keen way of expressing a feeling based on what has been said.
It is true that feeling reflections can be incredibly difficult. This is why it is an advanced listening skill. It requires you to listen to what is being said, but also the emotional content of what the individual is expressing. It is similar to paraphrasing, as outlined above, although you are repeating what they are feeling rather than what they are saying. This means that you have to pay close attention not merely to the speaker’s voice, but also to their body language and the way they use their voice. These signals combined will give you a good indication of what the individual’s feelings are as they are speaking to you.
How do I improve my Listening Skills?
Listening is not as simple as it may sounds. It is a complex process that involves hearing, understanding, and analysis. This will require conscious effort – it is not a passive act, as many seem to believe. You should make sure you are aware of both verbal and emotional data that is being communicated. This will require you to “read between the lines,” as the old saying goes.
If a pause arises in the conversation, do not start speaking just because you feel awkward. Use that as a moment to reflect on what the speaker has just said. If you feel that you do not understand some of the points that were just communicated, you can then use that as an opportunity to ask any questions that might arise in your head.
What are some of the common roadblocks to effective listening?
If you find yourself giving off any of the following responses when someone is speaking to you, then you are probably not listening very well. These include the following:
Warning, blaming, interrogating, analyzing, preaching, diverting, ordering, judging, labeling, withdrawing, moralizing, teaching, probing, interpreting, ridiculing, demanding, threatening, sympathizing, distracting, reassuring, giving solutions, calling names, scolding, lecturing, praising, directing, advising, criticizing
Why should I improve my Listening Skills?
In order to be successful in life, one needs to be a good listener. You will also want to be conscientious of the things you yourself are saying – after all, you do not want to be tactless. A good listener is a speaker with tact.
Being a close listener also allows one to learn how to read between the lines and thus dissipate strong emotions that you might have – that might not necessarily be necessary or helpful in the situation.
Listening is also good for the emotions in that it teaches us how to accept our feelings – as well as other people’s feelings. Without this respect for ourselves and for those around us, we cannot accept to go very far in life.