I’m going to share some of my favourite communication skills techniques with you, so read on for some guidelines and ideas that will help in all your communications in the future.
Firstly, we are going to look at Listening Skills and why they are so important.
I’ve studied people’s listening abilities over the years and found that there are many symptoms of poor listeners. Here are just five:
1) Selective listening: This means simply that we program out certain themes, subjects and topics by habit, and soon it becomes unconscious. That is, we become totally unaware that we only listen for a small amount of time, or to certain people, or to a limited range of ego-boosting news. We filter out a lot of what we hear.
2) Interrupting: We can think faster than the other person talks, so often we can guess the end of the remark the other person is going to make. The danger is that this can become a habit, and we think that our information, remark, point or subject is more important than theirs.
3) Distorting the Meaning: Often, our belief systems and conditioning will mean we overlay our map of reality over what the other is saying. This could mean our understanding can be skewed to mean something different to the intention of the other
4) Being critical of the other’s delivery: If you are criticising in your mind what the other is saying, your attention strays away from what is being said, to a judgement of the method or attitude shown by them.
5) Being critical of what the other is saying: By judging the content, you simply cannot be listening. You are instead talking to yourself and interfering with the listening process, as you can’t listen to them while you’re listening to yourself!
So what can you do to stop these habitual symptoms of a poor listener? I’ll cover this on the next blog.
Originally published: 18 October, 2011