Do you really know how to listen?

Do you really know how to listen?

Being a good communicator requires knowing how to listen. In fact, did you know that we spend more time listening than talking? According to research, of the total time spent communicating, 22% is spent reading and writing, 23% is spent talking and 55% is spent listening. This does not mean that we prefer listening to talking, but that we are exposed to a lot of information all the time.

Effective listening goes beyond that. It is about focusing on, capturing and interpreting verbal messages, intonation and other forms of expression, such as body language. It represents deducing, understanding and giving meaning to what is heard. It requires adding meaning to sound. Listening is the skill that determines how you manage relationships and attachments. It allows us to understand others and maintain good relationships. But do we really listen all the time?

Actually, no, that would be a lot of useless information. However, if you want to show that you care about what a person shares with you, it's important to do your best.

Active listening is a physical and mental effort to grasp the whole message by interpreting its meaning through verbal communication and body language and providing feedback to the speaker about what we understood. It means listening with attention and concentration while focusing all our energy on the words and ideas of the message, understanding and showing our interlocutor that it is well interpreted.

Active listening is a skill that can be acquired and improved with practice. However, active listening can be difficult to master. It takes time and patience to develop. It requires concentration on what is being said rather than simply passively 'listening' to the speaker's message.

Active listening involves listening with all the senses. In addition to paying attention to the speaker, it is important that the 'active listener' appears to be listening. Otherwise, the speaker may conclude that what he or she is talking about is not interesting to the listener.

Interest can be conveyed to the speaker through verbal and nonverbal messages, such as maintaining eye contact, nodding and smiling. Accept by saying "yes" or encouraging him or her to continue. By providing this feedback, the speaker will generally feel more comfortable and therefore communicate with more ease, openness and honesty.

So what can we do to improve our active listening skills?

  1. FOCUS

Don't get distracted! The important thing is to be attentive. This involves many elements:

Put your cell phones away. Pay attention. Don't get distracted by your own thoughts, feelings or prejudices. Stay in the present, listening is your present. Try not to focus on the speaker's accent or mannerisms to the point that they become distractions. If you find it particularly difficult to concentrate on what someone is saying, try mentally repeating their words back to them as they are being said, this will reinforce the message and help you stay focused.


Here are some strategies: Reinforcing that you are listening makes your customer feel heard and understood. Acknowledgement can be something as simple as a nod of the head. You are simply indicating that you are listening. Body posture can also help acknowledge that you are listening.

Body language is a type of communication that uses gestures, postures and movements of the body and face to convey information about thoughts and emotions. It usually occurs unconsciously and tells us about the individual's emotional state. Make sure your posture is open and interesting even if the speaker cannot see you. Good posture will encourage you to listen carefully.

Encourage the speaker to follow up with small verbal comments such as yes and "uh huh". A simple action brings great results - give it a try! These sounds will help show that you are there.

Don't worry if you lose focus. Don't be embarrassed. It is always better to acknowledge that you were not listening and ask the speaker to repeat what he or she just said.

A. Don't ignore nonverbal content.

People's body language, facial expressions, gestures and tone of voice can give you clues about what they are thinking and feeling. Volume and pace also contribute to what someone is saying. When listening, remember that words convey only a fraction of the message. Even over the phone, you can learn almost as much about a person from the tone and pace of their voice as from what they say.

Everyone will use tone and volume of voice in certain situations, let them help you understand the emphasis of what is being said. These are clues that you should not ignore.

B. Paraphrase.

Paraphrasing involves using other words to reflect what the speaker has said. Paraphrasing shows not only that you are listening, but that you are trying to understand what the speaker is saying.

The purpose of paraphrasing is:

Allow the speaker to 'hear' their own thoughts and focus on what they are saying and feeling. Show the speaker that you are trying to perceive the world as they see it and that you are doing your best to understand their message. Encourage them to keep talking.