Listening may seem like just one of several sensory input systems - it is - but it also is the lynch pin for much of what makes us be able to get through life. Listening well will help you remember more and more clearly. It will help you focus on instructions given and then later when you are following them. Listening helps with your personal and professional relationships.
Being a good listener is not something you are born with; you have to work at it. Since all of us are different, some may have to work harder than others. For example, if you are excellent with remembering faces, but horrible with names, this doesn't mean you have a bad memory; it means you are a bad listener. And if you have a tough time with faces… you might need glasses. The good news is that we all have the ability to become better listeners.
Here are some things to consider for improving your listening:
- Accept everything the person says. Judging and evaluating the content of what someone is saying -- while they are saying it - guarantees that you will miss some parts. Take in everything, then examine it.
- Don't get hung up on how they tell you something. Possibly you may not like a person's speech style, or their high-pitched voice. Ignore how they are saying it and concentrate on it.
- Don't interrupt. It may seem obvious to point out, but often we formulate our responses and rebuttals even while the other person is still making a point. Let them finish, then it's your turn.
- Get your body behind your ears. Make sure you keep eye contact. Lean forward to show interest. Try not to cross your arms.
- Repetition of key points at opportune times is a good memory trick, but it is also a good way of letting the speaker know you are still following them. When they know you are paying attention, they will put more of themselves into what they are saying.