Listening skills are a vital part of the oral communication process. As an active listener, you learn to hear what people are really saying. Good listening also requires energy – we hear the speaker, select information, interpret information and respond in just a few seconds.
Working at being a good listener is just as important as making your ideas understandable to others. Most of us think of listening as a passive activity where we take in information sent by others. But good listeners are skilled at concentrating on the communication process (both their own and the other person’s). Hence, at a simple level, good listeners are good concentrators. If this is the case, we need to teach ourselves how to concentrate more effectively.
This topic is presented in four stages consisting of:
• Hear or be attentive to people when they are communicating with you.
• Understand the totality of what is being communicated or get clear on the message being sent.
• Interpret or get a wider sense of meaning.
• Respond or reply to the message sender in the clearest way possible.