Saturday, 25 January 2014

Effective Listening

Listening is one of the most important aspects of effective communication. Successful listening means not just understanding the words or the information being communicated but also understanding how the speaker feels about what they are communicating.
If your goal is to fully understand and connect with with the other person, listening effectively will often come naturally. If it doesn't, you can remember the following tips: 1) focus on the speaker, his/her body language and other non verbal clues 2)avoid interrupting or trying to redirect the conversation to your concern. Listening is not the same as waiting for your turn to talk. You can't concentrate on what someone is saying if you are forming what you are going to say next. 3) avoid seeming judgemental. In order to communicate effectively with someone, you don't have to like them or agree with their ideas, values or oinions. However, you do need to set aside your judgement and withold blame and criticism in order to fully understand a person. The most difficult communication, when successfully executed can lead to the most unlikely and profound connection with someone. 4) show your interest in what is being said.
Other communication tips include: a) be willing to compromise: if you realize that the other person cares much more about something than you do, compromise may be easier for you and do a good investement in the future of the relationship.
B) agree to disagree: emotions play an important role in the way we communicate. It is the way you feel, more than the way you think, that motivates you to communicate or make decisions. The way you react to emotionally driven, non verbal clues affects both how you understand other people and how they understand you. If you are out of touch with your feelings and don't understand how you feel or why you feel that way, you'll have a hard time communicating your feelings and needs to others. This can result in frustration, misunderstanding and conflict.
We all need to be emotionally aware ie the consciousness of your moment to moment emotional experiences and the ability to manage all of your feelings appropriately because it is the basis for effective communication. It also helps to 1) understand and emphatise with what is really troubling other people 2) understand yourself including what's really troubling you and what you really want 3) communicate clearly and effectively, even when delivering negative messages 4) build strong, trusting and rewarding relationships, think creatively, solve problems and resolve conflicts.
Remember to find the right time to talk to drive home the message else an attempt to communicate can end up in disaster, talk face to face - the advent to social media is the undoing of many relationships as we depend on them to communicate; really, they are a novel idea but somethings shouldn't be said on phone or bbm etc! Least of all, do not attack; a typical example is always being on the offensive when trying to justify lack of communication. We are quick to accuse people of not checking up on us and all but are quick to point out the fact that we have been busy, etc. Really, there is no excuse for lack of communication, while sometimes we might be genuinely busy, we should never pass the buck to the other fellow afterall there is nothing like being too busy, its just a matter of priorities!
Finally, the goal of effective communication is to find a healthy balance between your intellect aNd your emotions, between thinking and feeling. Remember, part of being in a healthy relationship is having good communication.

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