Listening. Important it might be, but that does not mean that people have what it takes to be good listeners. And that is why active listening skills need to be taught and inculcated. In that direction, this article will help in providing for certain skills of the same.
Listening could solve so many problems. Really, really listening that is. What does active listening do? Active listening helps us to understand a situation in its entirety and when that happens, it automatically leads to efficiency in work and otherwise. It also leads to improving of relations among people. It gives a person confidence because he understands the situation completely and fully and can therefore take sane decisions. Along with that, active listening skills also help to get rid of the biases and prejudices that people develop for others and gives them a chance to understand a person fully before tuning him and his thoughts off.
Developing skills for active listening is therefore a very crucial exercise in both, one’s profession as well as in one’s day-to-day activities. In that direction, there are certain active listening activities that can be taught in order to develop the required skills. In this following article, we will look into the aspect of how to teach these skills and take you through some of the activities that are a part of these.
Developing the Skills
Now that we know why it is important to develop these listening skills, we need to understand that students and young kids need to be taught these skills at an early age so that they can reap the benefits of the same throughout their lives. In that direction, here are some of the ways of teaching active listening skills to people.
Pay attention to what the other person is saying. This means that you block whatever other distractions and thoughts that are coming your way and listen.
Your body language has to portray that you are listening as well. What does that mean? Maintaining eye contact, leaning towards the speaker, facing the speaker and the like. Do not give him any signals that you’re distracted, which means tuning out all the external and internal factors and focusing merely on what the speaker has to say.
Another very effective technique for developing active listening skills is to keep in mind that you have to repeat what the person is saying. This will force you to pay more attention because you have to repeat what they are saying. Thus automatically making you listen better.
Provide for feedback so that the person knows that you’re listening to what they are saying. Giving the appropriate responses by nodding your head, or using encouraging words like ‘uh huh’ is a great way to show a person that you’re listening, and are interested in what they are saying.
Do Not Interrupt
Never interrupt when a person is speaking. This gives a message that you are not interested in what they have to say and do not hold any importance to their views whatsoever. Active listeners will let the speaker have his say and make points of what they need to ask him, and once the speaker is done, only then will they put forth their doubts. This way the speaker knows that you’ve been listening and listening well.
Improving these Skills
Teaching techniques of active listening can be done quite easily with the help of certain active listening exercises. Here are a few examples.
Lie to Me
Pick up a person from the group of people present there and ask them to read a random narrative to the group while the group listens. Then add a single sentence that was not present in the narrative before and have him/her read the narrative back again. The group has to catch the addition that has been done, which can only happen if they’ve been listening carefully.
The Story Continued…
Have the group sit in a circle. Start off with a tagged person and ask them to say a line that can be continued into a story. Once they say the line, the next person has to repeat the line, add one of his own and then say the two together. The third person then adds to the two and repeats all three, and the format continues. If the game has to be a success, the person has to listen to everything that is being said or else he will not be able to repeat the lines and add his own.
Active listening activities ensure that a person develops these skills. Those skills which make him a skilled listener and thereby help him in life. Here’s hoping that you now have a clear idea of how to go about inculcating and teaching active listening skills to someone and yourself.