Today I will speak to you about importance of listening skills. Title of my speech is: “Listen twice as much as you speak”. That itself speaks a lot about how important listening is.
What are listening skills? How you go about developing these? And what for? What is the difference between hearing and listening?
All these questions are simply answered with the definition of communication. We communicate to exchange ideas and views. We communicate to influence people, to negotiate deals. So, it’s necessary not just to hear but to listen, understand and assimilate information contained in the speech. Then only we can respond. But if we don’t listen but just hear, and if we are only anxious to say what we want to say, the objectives of communication is lost.
Listening becomes very easy with some modification of our habits. These are:
- We must focus on the speaker. All other thoughts should not be allowed to tax the mind or to divert it. Normally as many as 50,000 thoughts come to mind each day. But with efforts, we can reduce their number. When we focus on the speaker we can surely assimilate the information the speaker is trying to convey.
- While listening in one on one conversation, we must not interrupt. Even when we don’t agree with what the speaker’s opinion is. We must be patient enabling them to complete their statements.
- Your objective of communication will be served better if you make the speaker comfortable. How do you do that? By nodding your head, other body language, gestures, or just say yes, please go ahead etc. The speaker must be sure that you are listening. Your listening makes the speaker comfortable.
- Look at the views of the speaker from their perspective. Try to examine to issue while wearing speaker’s shoes.
- You must practice patience. You must never try to complete speaker’s sentences even if you are confirming or appreciating their thoughts.
- All speakers may not be very articulate. They may have some speech blemishes. Faults like using filler words, inaccurate pronunciation, breathing at wrong place in a sentence etc. You must ignore these and focus on the idea the speaker is presenting.
- Survey reveals that 60% of the communication happens with the body language. So closely watch the body language of the speaker to understand speaker’s intent.
- Last but not the least, identify the idea by putting together the pieces of information the speaker has vocalized. All speakers are not expurts in speaking skills. So help them. It also serves you.
Good interpersonal skills form a basic requirement for an individual, today. If you are deficient in interpersonal skills, you meet road blocks everywhere. Life was never so interactive, never so social. We all depend on each other more than ever in the past. So it’s necessary not only to understand but consciously move forward to develop commendable interpersonal skills.
- Simply said, the skills relate to your getting along with people around you. Since we are all individuals, so we think differently. This we must keep in mind all the time. We may present our point of view but if we try to impose on others we will never be excused. Such actions kill the possibility of developing good interpersonal skills.
- In order that we respect others, we must listen to them carefully and understand their perspective. It is only by understanding others that we will know how to deal with them. Even when we are talking with juniors, we cannot take them for granted. Everyone is conscious of their rights of holding on to their opinions. So, in case we want to convince them we may do so respecting their opinions and presenting politely our view point. If you are able to establish the mutual benefit, everyone will appreciate your moves. You will in the process improve your interpersonal skills.
- We all have some hidden assumptions. These assumptions do determine our behavior. For example, if our views about a particular person are negative, we will assume that he/she will never help us. Here the negative assumption will act as a road block. Even if we had an unhappy experience, we should approach people with an open mind. Always assume positive intent and surely it will be helpful.
- It is normal that the conflicts are likely to occur among people who work together. The best way to build harmonious relationship is to understand each of them, respect their personal views and beliefs and resolve any conflict, sooner than later. Unresolved conflicts become hurdles in developing and sustain good relations. One must remember that a team can be victorious only if they work in harmony.
- Language and speech play a very important role in the development of your interpersonal skills. In case of inadequacy of language you may end up communicating a message that may be considered as offensive even when you don’t intend any offence. Your body language is also of great consequence. Maintaining a positive body language and cordiality in tone are extremely helpful. Time spent on mastery of the language will never go unrewarded.
To conclude, I would like to say that developing interpersonal skills consciously cannot be ignored by any management professional. In fact, organizations are hiring experts to train their employees develop this very special art. Better interpersonal skills are conducive to improving efficiency of the organization and also its bottom line. Customer relations solely depend on your proficient interpersonal skills.
Thanks for reading.
Great leaders are great speakers. Public Speaking is an Art as well as a Science. One needs to understand what goes into making of a great public speaker. Today, I will talk to you about the seven secrets of Public Speaking.
Secret No. 1: Confidence
You must have confidence in yourself. You must respect yourself and value your opinions. You can only achieve this if you are not judgmental. It can be achieved if you have an open mind. Once you realise that like any other human being you can also make mistakes, you become confident. Again you become confident because you have nothing to hide and nothing to fear!
Secret No. 2: Overcoming Stage Fright.
Public Speaking dates back to the origin of history. Likewise stage fright has been felt by the Public Speakers from the time immemorial. There is no short cut for overcoming stage fright. We must realise that when we speak to audience it is not stage fright but it is heightened feeling. This is also a feeling we get whenever we are about to do something important. The more we find opportunities to address the audience, the faster we will overcome stage fright.
Secret No. 3: Body Language
This refers to the way you stand; the way you walk – it refers to your posture while speaking and your dress must also be cool!
Secret No. 4: Eye Contact
While speaking it is necessary that you make eye contact with you audience. It should appear that you are talking to the people. Each person of the audience should feel that you are talking to him or her. This can be achieved by practice along.
Secret No. 5: Articulation
Articulation for a Public Speaking refers to the clarity in his ideas, and the clarity of each and every word that he/she speaks. This is more of a Science. It can be achieved by understanding the principles and with lots of practice.
Secret No. 6: Ability to hold the attention of the audience
You have to develop modulation in your speech. This can be practiced by memorising and repeating dramatic monologues of Shakespeare and others. A lot of hard work has to get into building talent to modulate.
Secret No. 7: The Structure of the Speech
Every Speech must have a clear cut beginning. The various points that you want to communicate to the audience form the body. You need to be clear about these points which should not be more than three or four. In conclusion you must summarize what you have talked about and your speech on a happy note.