Numerous subjects about methods for good speaking have been published in the virtual world, but is it not worthy to be a good listener as to be a good speaker? There are two parties in each relationship. We will have a successful communication only when the two parties make a good and correct interaction with each other.
Therefore, in every mutual communication, every speaker/announcer is responsible to speak well and the listener takes the charge of listening well. The proverb “the listener will actuate the speaker” exemplifies this matter. In this article, we explain how we can be a good listener in order to incite the speaker.
The art of being a listener against the lack of art in listening
Listening and being listener are totally different. Listening is an unconscious process. In fact, listening is just counted as a physical activity. Sounds are produced in our surroundings and our auditory system receive these sounds. This process is called listening.
But being a listener is a mental process which happens after physical process of listening. All mental processes are learnable and upgradable. It is better to say that listening happens by our ears but being a good listener is a process done by mind.
Why should we be a good listener?
When we are a good listener, we do not just listen the utterances of the other party, but rather we think deeply about them and understand his meaning well. For this reason, we can inhibit many misunderstandings. When the other party feels that we can perceive him well, he will trust us more and attempts to understand us, too.
In addition to these items, if we obtain a good skill in being a listener, we can realize the complexities of the other person’s personality and accordingly, the skill of being a good listener is known as the base of communication. If we apply this skill accurately, it will help us to be attractive in making communications with others. Is listening skill trainable? As we mentioned earlier, since being a listener is a mental skill, it is trainable, too.
How can we be a good listener?
We should send some messages or signals for the other party in order that he understands we are a good listener. We transfer our messages through words and body language to others. Thus, when we are in the listener’s shoes, we use words less. So, we should transfer our messages in form of the body language.
In the following, we mention 8 signs to address the audience that you are a good listener. 6 signs are related to body language and the other 2 are verbal signs.
The first effective signal is eye contact. If you are speaking and the audience doesn’t look at you, don’t you feel that he doesn’t listen to you at all? So, it is necessary to have eye contact with the audience to make him understand you are listening.
However, you should not gaze at the audience in eye contact. This will disrupt his concentration and calmness. If you have not paid attention to this matter yet, it may seem a bit difficult for you. But you can reinforce this skill in yourself by practice.
Again the eyes! Many people gaze too much at others while using eye contact. Eye movement is an approach help you to prevent from this problem and it has some other effects. You can do the eye movement as following:
- Changing your looking direction from one eye of the audience to the other eye
- Making a triangular path among two eyes and lips. Such eye movement will make a better feeling in the audience.
Eye movement not only inhibits gazing at the other person, but also it will give a sense to the audience that you are really listening to him and paying complete attention.
Bending your head
The movements of your head and body will greatly affect your audience. When you are listening to someone’s talking and while you make eye contact, if you bend your head toward one side, it seems you have a deep and investigative look.
Such a look will induce the speaker to talk. However, you should pay attention to use this movement correctly and on time; otherwise, the audience may get confused. Thus, send this signal when the audience is stating something important.
Shaking the head
When we are listener and we shake our head, we are saying indirectly that we are listening to you. We can shake the head in three ways in order to send three types of messages to the audience.
- First method – slow: slow shaking of head represent this message that I am listening to your talking and I am thinking of it. However, such head shaking does not necessarily mean confirming the other party.
- Second method-fast: this kind of head shaking not only accompany the speaker, but also conveys this message: you’re right, I agree.
- Third method- very fast: this type of head shaking represents your agreement. As well, it shows “you’re excited of hearing these utterances”.
However, your face and look can help to reinforce these messages and unlike, if you have a down face with a different meaning, it can influence negatively. For example, if you don’t have an enthusiastic face and shake your head very quickly, you are stating that: “I feel tired of your talking, please finish it soon”.
Movements of Whole body
The topics mentioned here were about the head, face and eyes which play great roles in conveying the meanings. This case is related to movements of whole body like how to sit. For instance, your sitting can demonstrate how much you’re interested to the speech of the other party.
If your whole body is towards the audience when you’re sitting, this means that you are paying attention to him. In this case, if your body is slightly towards the audience, it makes the feeling that every word of the audience is interesting for you and you are paying close attention to him.
However, you need to have an appropriate distance with the audience, nearly between 2 and 4 steps. If you get closer, it gives an insecure feeling to him. Of course, bending towards the audience shall not be too much.
Avoiding the negative aspects of body movements
Some body movements have negative effects on the audience. When you are in listener’s shoes, if you turn your head towards the speaker but keep your body in other direction, this means that I am not paying attention but I pretend that I am listening to you.
In addition, some behaviors are distracting. For example, playing with keys or coins. If you do this while others talking to you, neither the speaker is eager more to talk nor he is able to focus anymore on his speech.
It is right that when you are listener, you should not interrupt the speaker, but a good listener always uses some confirmative sounds like Uh, Ohom, and other words in its correct time. You will get the best conclusion if you mix these confirmative sounds with eye contact and shaking head.
Finally, it is more effective to use short words to confirm the speaker. Among these words, we can refer to “I understand, really? So well”. Using these words ensure the audience that you are listening carefully to him but it does not mean you agree with him.
You can use the confirmative words in another way. For instance, you can mention what you understood from speaker’s feeling. Or sometimes you can remind the important issues posed by the speaker. These actions makes the speaker sure that you listened carefully to him.