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Cultivate The Habit Of Listening. It’s Vital For Success

published March 04, 2013

By Author - LawCrossing
Published By
( 7 votes, average: 4 out of 5)
What do you think about this article? Rate it using the stars above and let us know what you think in the comments below.
Communication is obviously a two-way process. You write, someone reads. Someone speaks, you listen. You speak someone listens. However, simple as it sounds, this is not always true or at least not fully true.

Successful networking is based upon effective communications. According to Dr. Lyman K. Steil, Executive Director of the International Listening Association, we communicate about 80% of our working time. Writing accounts for only about 9% of that time. Reading accounts for 16%. Speaking accounts for 30%, and listening accounts for 45% of our communications time.

In school all of us had extensive training in reading and writing. But what about listening? Listening is a skill just like reading and writing. From the above figures, listening would seem even more important than reading or writing, and yet for the most part, we get no specific training in listening.

Learning About Listening

Perhaps thousands of books have been written on the subjects of salesmanship and public speaking, all telling how to better present ourselves verbally and how to get our message across. But, strange as it may seem there's a dearth of books on listening, the connecting communications link. If there is a "listening" message in any of these sales books, it is that salespeople run the risk of talking too much and not listening enough or carefully enough. They tend to spend too much time talking about what they have to sell and not enough time listening to what the customer wants.

At one time or another we've all been guilty of not listening carefully enough to the message being presented. All of us do not realize that we are speaking more than what is really required and that we don't really listen too much. To tell you how little we listen we'll play a small game - it will illustrate that even though we do listen, we do not listen carefully enough for the message to be effective:

Let's try this simple game. You whisper a message to the person sitting next to you, and then he will whisper it to the person next to him, who will whisper it on to the person next to her, and so on, and so on. At the end of the line, the resulting message will not at all be like the original one. That's one of the possible results of a lack of careful listening.

And then there's the issue of "polite" listening. This is where we appear attentive to seem courteous, but we don't really listen to the message. There's an old story that best illustrates this failing in listening traits. It's about two people who meet during a cocktail party. "How are things?" the first fellow asks.

"Not good," was the reply. "My wife is in the hospital with cancer, my son was caught using drugs and my thirteen year old daughter is pregnant." "Glad to hear it! Pass on my regards," came the reply. Some 'Polite' listening this! Still another problem is not taking time to listen. We want to hurry up the slow speaker or the "wordy" speaker. We might interrupt or finish the speaker's sentence. Our message here is, hurry up, we don't have time to or want to listen. And there is the subject of eye contact. Perhaps we don't look the speaker in the eye during a conversation or we're easily distracted. That presents the opportunity for missing the message.

And finally, in this short write-up on effective listening, there is the problem of talking so much that little or no time is left to listen. People who do this are often considered bores, yet talking too much is a common habit.

Many people avoid compulsive talkers because they feel that they will unnecessarily waste their time and there is no point to listening to a monologue unless you absolutely have to.

Networking Listeners

Successful networkers know how to use listening as the powerful tool it is. Networkers can adopt good listening habits that will substantially increase both what they can learn through verbal networking and the kind of image they present to those with whom they network.

Perhaps the best place to start an effort to improve our listening skills is to learn what other people consider annoying listening habits. To become a more effective listener, take the steps necessary to overcome these annoying habits. Additionally, follow the Boy Scout motto: Be Prepared. Before attending a mixer or making a networking phone call, say to yourself, "I'm going to actively listen." For face-to-face listening, remember to maintain eye contact and to be and appear to be genuinely interested.

Ask questions. Offer feedback with comments such as, "Go on," "I see," "Yes," "I understand," 'That's interesting," "What else happened?" "Oh really," etc. Four of the magical listening phrases are;
  1. "Say more about that..."
  2. "Go into that some more..."
  3. "Could you explain further..."
  4. 'Tell me more about that..."
When you use phrases like these, the other person knows you're listening!

Make up your mind that you are going to learn something from listening. Then, when you have listened, try to decide what you've learned from a particular conversation. If what you've learned is important enough, make some notes for future reference.

Above all, be patient, tolerant and understanding of other peoples' speaking habits. Some people may be shy, others perhaps not be as eloquent as you, some slower in speech, and some with speech difficulties including ethnic or regional accents.

How successfully you network will depend upon how successfully you listen.

published March 04, 2013

By Author - LawCrossing
( 7 votes, average: 4 out of 5)
What do you think about this article? Rate it using the stars above and let us know what you think in the comments below.