Wednesday, February 25, 2009

How to Develop Listening Skills

Instructive listening is a listening in which the main objective is to understand the message clearly. We can say that listeners are so much successful that after reading the message they tend to understand and take the same meaning which the sender anticipated. In all the hooks and corner our lives we can find instructive listening.

A lot of our knowledge comes from instructive listening as in, we listen to instructions or lectures given by teachers- and whatever knowledge we get or grasp is all depended on how good we listen. Also in the work place, we to understand new innovations or procedures- and our performance depend upon how well we listen. We listen to instructions, briefings, reports as well as speeches.

If we do not listen properly, we would not be equipped with the information that we require. But sometimes, even cautious listening may be critical. In simple manner, effective instructive listening demands that you contemplate on the message and understand its source.

There are three main variables related to instructive listening:

Vocabulary: The accurate co-relation between vocabulary and listening has never been determined, but indeed if you increase your vocabulary will increase your caliber for better understanding. If you wish to improve your vocabulary, the first and the foremost thing is you should have keen interest in words and languages, making conscious efforts to learn new words and breaking down unfamiliar words into their component parts.

Concentration: Perhaps you remember periods when someone was not paying attention on what you were saying and you can also remember the times when you were not concentrating on someone when he was telling you something. At times, listeners try to divide their attention between two competing stimuli. At other times, listeners are preoccupied with something other than the speaker of the moment. At times, it also happens that listeners are too keen with the message that is delivered because of their requirement. Concentration requires discipline, inspiration and approval of responsibility.

Memory: Memory is the most crucial variable for instructive listening; you cannot process information without bringing memory into play. More specifically, memory helps your instructive listening in three ways:
1) it helps you recall experiences and information required to function in the world around you. In other words, without memory you would not have knowledge bank.
2) it launches expectations regarding what you will stumble upon. Without the memory of your past experiences, you would not be able to drive in heavy traffic, react to new situations, or make common decisions in life.
3) it permits you to understand what others say. You could not understand the meaning of messages, without memory of concepts and ideas.
4) Remarks which are filled with sentiments of antipathy, defensiveness or skepticism.
5) It can hamper speaker by puzzling or diverting into tangents.

Remedy:
1) Encouraging feedback can demonstrate interest through suitable eye contact, smiling and animation, nodding, leaning forward, verbal strengthening as in “I see” or “Yes” and phrasing interpretations of the comments for verification.
2) Instead of hampering the speaker, these must be timed or assisted.

Other Obstructions for Efficient Listening

Due to the multifaceted process of communication, there are many variables which are put forth while we try to listen. They can be sorted as:
Physical conditions / corporal conditions: There are many noises which disturb as in irritating noises, weak acknowledgement, uncomfortable seating arrangements, and physical distress due to temperature which is not suitable, etc. form a hurdle. If you cannot control these hurdles or barriers then the most efficient way to overcome is nothing but concentration.
Informal attitude: We can obviously suppose that if you are hearing, then it is a must for you to listen and one of the major for of these hindrances is lack of efficiency and concentration.

Ratio of speaking and thinking: Generally we speak at a ratio of 120-140 words per minute but our brain is able to grasp as much as 350 to 400 words approximately per minute. It means that we do have sufficient quantity of “leisure period” in which our mind can get distracted and switch-over from the difficult task of crucial as well as cautious listening. It is during this “leisure period” that many listeners surrender to exterior distractions.

Hasty assessment: This is the attribute of leaping to wrapping up or concluding. As remarked by one of the great persons, that the difficulty is the tendency of human beings to estimate what is said from one’s point of view only, the lack of capability to procastinate an estimation because of communication in the specific situation. This instant estimation sets up a reaction of series that colours one’s response to a speaker.

Position and function: Your impression to a person’s position will determine to a large degree, whatever you learn from him/her and how he/she will be inspired by your attributes. Position co-relation between the speaker and the listener, as well as the different roles they both play is often determined the success or failure of the communication act.

Communication background / message framework: Another component that powers the process of communication is what we will refer to as messaging background. The ultimate result is impacted because of the place of encounter “the where”. All of us react in our own way at our homes, for example, at school or college, at workplace or at any party or function. The ground of our acts helps to manage both, our messages and our responses.

It permits you to understand what others say. You could not understand the meaning of messages, without memory of concepts and ideas.
1) Remarks which are filled with sentiments of antipathy, defensiveness or skepticism.
2) It can hamper speaker by puzzling or diverting into tangents.

Remedy:
1) Encouraging feedback can demonstrate interest through suitable eye contact, smiling and animation, nodding, leaning forward, verbal strengthening as in “I see” or “Yes” and phrasing interpretations of the comments for verification.
2) Instead of hampering the speaker, these must be timed or assisted.

In BM English Speaking’s Advanced English & Communication Skills Course participants are trained in developing Listening Skills. For more information log on to http://www.bmconsultantsindia.com/
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