Most people confuse listening with hearing. Even though both follow a similar modus operandi, there is a considerable difference between the two. While hearing is the ability to hear the speaker, listening involves receiving the information, interpreting it, and then communicating it. Therefore, listening forms an integral component of the entire communication process. If you are not attentive while listening, it may cause the communication channel to break down. Developing proper listening skills can contribute to efficient communication, which is invaluable in the corporate atmosphere. This article will try to understand what effective listening is and examine some of its benefits.
What is Effective Listening?
Listening not just for the sake of hearing but trying to understand what the other person is saying is called effective listening. To listen effectively, you need concentration along with a conscious effort. As an effective listener, you must not be just attentive to what is being said but have an empathetic approach to grasp the speaker’s intention. Effective listening is a skill, and like all other skills, you must practice it to become better and more efficient.
Benefits of Effective Listening
Let us look at some of the benefits of effective listening.
Improves Your Language
One of the benefits of effective listening is that it can improve your language. If you are attentive during lectures or talk shows, you may come across new words that can enrich your vocabulary. One may argue that reading can also have a similar impact. However, while reading a book, you are engaging with the language script you are already comfortable with, giving you less exposure. In comparison, you receive much more exposure while listening to someone.
Since different people talk in different language formats, you may be introduced to new words daily. Additionally, the people you meet may belong to different levels of society. Therefore, you are not just introduced to new terms but also different uses of the same language.
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Keeps You Prepared
If you keep your ears open while communicating, it will help you prepare for the following conversations, if any. This is because your mind already formulates replies for the discussion when you listen. Since effective listening involves understanding and interpreting facts, it helps you prepare well for the related content.
Makes You Empathetic
Effective listening is one way to display the virtue of empathy. If you are paying close attention while someone is speaking, that gives the impression that you are genuinely concerned about the speaker’s feelings. This helps you in coming across as empathetic and someone who can be seen as a trustworthy person. While there are three types of empathy, emotional empathy, cognitive empathy, and emphatic concern, all of them require you to master the skill of listening.
If you can understand the spiritual and personal feelings of another, it can be considered emotional empathy. On the other hand, it is called cognitive empathy if you can analyze and perceive the other person’s narrative. Emphatic concern deals with your ability to understand how the other person wants you to behave in any given situation. It is easy to understand that to develop all these abilities, you must be an effective listener. Hence, without developing strong listening skills, the virtue of empathy cannot be harnessed.
Makes You More Productive
Effective listening can also enhance your productivity. This is primarily applicable when you are working under someone responsible for carrying out their orders. If you are being given instructions, you must be able to listen to them carefully. Once you are clear about the instructions, it will help you complete the task efficiently. Additionally, when you listen to the instructions carefully, you are much clearer about the minor details, enabling you to complete the job more flawlessly.
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Promotes Better Socialization
Since you need other people to survive in this world, it is better to develop some socializing skills, and being an effective listener can help you inculcate such skills. To increase your social circle, you must come across as genuine and trustworthy. There may be certain situations when the other person might be expecting some form of help from you. You can only help if you are aware of their problems and the only way to do that is by listening carefully. If you wish to be with someone and get to know them better, the only quality you need to have is listening to their prowess.
Developing the art of listening effectively is not something that you can acquire overnight. It takes time, and you must be willing to practice it consistently. However, once you possess the skill, it can open countless doors for you and may help you scale new heights in your career.
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