Monday, December 7, 2015

Listening as a Communication Skill

Communication is the process of transferring and receiving information between at least two people. Most do really well on speaking and telling others what they need but fail to listen adequately. By adjusting our communication patterns we are better able to listen to what the other needs and communicate our needs in a more effective manner. Communication experts often achieve great personal and professional success.

Social interaction occurs through communication but is inherently part of social reciprocation. People talk and connect because they both receive benefits of doing so. When people talk and discuss issues they are connecting themselves into a wider social group and this has value for both parties. When communication breaks down so does social interaction leading to conflict.

Listening is at least half of this reciprocation process. When we listen we can better understand what the other person wants, needs, and desires. We are able to adjust our message and communication pattern to match theirs and in turn create better levels of understanding. Two people are better able to share their thoughts and ideas when the both are listening closely.

To listen effectively we have to slow down our thinking and avoid acting on the urge to talk. Try and understand what the person is saying and focus on what they are thinking. Once you have a good idea of what they want to say and what they are really saying you can open up and say something. That something is likely to be more profound and influential than if you didn't listen first.

This is difficulty because we have be conditioned and program to take a "first" stance in everything. However, effective communicators can use more wisdom than simply blabbing their mouths. They can listen and assess the environment and the conversation before talking. Once they act they are more effective and get more of their needs met. 

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