Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Listening Skills - Why You Need Good Listening Skills

Listening Skills - Why You Need Good Listening Skills

Now Pay Attention

Here's Why You Need Good Listening Skills

By , Guide
Several years back there was a public service announcement that ran on television. It talked about the importance of good listening skills and the difference between hearing and listening. Hearing is a physical ability while listening is a skill. Listening skills allow one to make sense of and understand what another person is saying. In other words, listening skills allow you to understand what someone is "talking about". In 1991 the United States Department of Labor Secretary's Commission on Achieving Necessary Skills (SCANS) identified five competencies and three foundation skills that are essential for those entering the workforce. Listening skills were among the foundation skills SCANS identified.

Why You Need Good Listening Skills

Good listening skills make workers more productive. The ability to listen carefully will allow you to:

  • better understand assignments and what is expected of you;
  • build rapport with co-workers, bosses, and clients;
  • show support;
  • work better in a team-based environment;
  • resolve problems with customers, co-workers, and bosses;
  • answer questions; and
  • find underlying meanings in what others say.

How to Listen Well

The following tips will help you listen well. Doing these things will also demonstrate to the speaker that you are paying attention. While you may in fact be able to listen while looking down at the floor, doing so may imply that you are not.
  • maintain eye contact;
  • don't interrupt the speaker;
  • sit still;
  • nod your head;
  • lean toward the speaker;
  • repeat instructions and ask appropriate questions when the speaker has finished.
A good listener knows that being attentive to what the speaker doesn't say is as important as being attentive to what he does say. Look for non-verbal cues such as facial expressions and posture to get the full gist of what the speaker is telling you.

Barriers to Listening

Beware of the following things that may get in the way of listening.
  • bias or prejudice;
  • language differences or accents;
  • noise;
  • worry, fear, or anger; and
  • lack of attent

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