The art of listening and its effect on communication

Wang Yan
Wang Yan

Global Courant

Listening can be difficult. It requires us to tune in to more than just the actual words and includes gestures, body language, and the ability to direct our attention and concentration to someone other than ourselves.

How many times have you talked to someone on the phone and realized they were multitasking and busy during the call.
Did they really listen? Probably not.

Are you someone who occasionally drops out when going to another person because you like to express your opinion and thoughts? Are you really listening? Probably not.

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Do you tend to occasionally miss when someone is talking to you and not hear what is being said because your mind wanders to something completely unrelated to you? Are you really listening? Absolutely not.

There are four key communication skills for improving interpersonal relationships that require listening. They are:

o The ability to listen without judging.

o Show understanding for what has been said

o Recognize and accept another’s point of view

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o Remember not to impose your personal beliefs on anyone else.

Sometimes someone just wants to vent and isn’t interested in feedback or advice. Being able to passively listen to that person’s words with undivided attention and without responding verbally is a powerful “non-verbal” message. If done with an open heart and empathy for that person’s feelings, it can empower them to bring out their own access to inner wisdom, as well as the ability to go within for exploration and guidance.

Simple and concise verbal responses to other people’s words convey the idea that you are listening by saying expressions like; “Oh”, “I see”, “Interesting” and other non-judgmental messages.

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If you really want to respond, communicate your willingness to keep listening with statements like; “Tell me about it” or “Do you want to talk about it”?

To give “feedback” to the speaker, an active listener should only feed back what they think that person means, not give advice, and only clarify what he or she is unsure of. Active listening encourages free expression of difficult feelings. It is not making a statement from the speaker. “Can you tell me more?” or “Let me see if I understand what you just said” are typical phrases for active listening.

The ability to be an effective listener must be natural and realistic. Learning new open communication skills takes practice, time and awareness. For more information on this topic visit

The art of listening and its effect on communication

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