Communication by listening and hearing are not the same thing. Hearing is the first stage of listening.
This is a communication process that requires active participation.
Competency is achieved through learning and practice. Sometimes our listening is distracted by half-attention, constant interruptions, high-volume, and talkfest free-for-all.
A good listener is not just a silent receptacle, passively receiving the thoughts and feeling of others. To be an effective listener, you must respond with verbal and nonverbal cues, which let the speaker know that you are listening and understanding. This is the feedback that is needed.
Verbal feedback works best when delivered in the form of brief statements, rather than questions. These statements allow you to paraphrase and reflect what you’ve heard, which affirms the speaker’s success at communication and encourages the speaker to elaborate further. You can use phrases like “uh-huh” and “I see” to let the speaker know that you’re following what they are saying.
In order to become an effective listener, you have to learn to manage what goes on in your own mind. Good listening requires the temporary suspension of all unrelated thoughts. This means no interrupting, no finishing their sentences, and no formulating your reply before they are finished speaking.
“To listen well is as powerful a means of communication and influence as to talk well” – John Marshall
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Cora Belle Marburger, Social Media Virtual Assistant