The Power of Listening

Effective listening requires concentration, comprehension, and a positive attitude. Both the listener and the presenter benefit from excellent hearing.

People converse for a sizable chunk of their lives on normal. Along with exchanging words, we also gather knowledge, create connections, and, amazingly, have an impact on one another’s neurobiology.

When was the last time you felt truly heard despite all the speaking and listening we do?

We frequently take listening for granted among all the components of successful talks, which may be the case. The Cinderella skill of learning a second language, listening is frequently disregarded in favour of its more alluring step-sisters, talking and writing.

For the past 11 years, Guy Itzchakov has been studying listening. One of his most important realisations is how intricate and potent listening is, and how foolish it would be for us to treat our listening responsibilities casually. It is after all the listeners who constantly open doors for the speakers, assisting them in gaining fresh insights into themselves, according to Itzchakov’s argument, and it is the listeners who enable profound introspection, self-disclosure, and social connection.

Here are 9 queries for Dr Itzchakov on having to listen.

Why do we frequently undervalue the value of listening and place greater emphasis on speaking well?

It is a misconception that hearing is a passive skill to blame. In actuality, the listener frequently controls the conversation’s tone through “backchannel behaviours,” which are nonverbal and verbal actions that have an impact on it.

Listening is a great tool for fostering social connection, not the aim. You’ll get more genuine self-disclosure from me if you listen to me properly since it will make me feel less worried and more connected to you. You’ll probably reciprocate by paying close attention to me when it’s my turn to talk as a result.

How frequently, on average, do we engage in good listening in our interactions?

A procedure that demands time and effort is providing high-quality listening.

People typically engage in daily conversations with the desired level of listening. Moreover, since we frequently participate in small talk, we shouldn’t anticipate that every contact will require attentive listening. However, when we do have a very good listening episode, it can have a significant influence.

What components are required for excellent listening?

There are several key components to effective listening. The first one is concerned with the aspect of attention. This category includes nonverbal cues like eye contact, body language, voice, and posture.

Think of eye contact. A speaker normally doesn’t stare at the listener the entire time in a meaningful conversation. Making eye contact with listeners is crucial for speakers to overcome internal conflicts. Comprehending is the second element. By offering reflection, we can use our listening to help individuals feel “understood.” The speaker may feel “heard” by others after sharing these observations, and they may also learn something new.

Asking questions is a strong tactic as well. A good question—one that prioritises the speaker’s needs over the listener’s curiosity—will show the speaker that the listener is interested in learning more from them whereas an irrelevant inquiry may steer the conversation in the wrong direction.

Positive intention is the third essential component of effective listening. You do not have to concur with everything you hear in order to have a non-judgmental attitude. It entails giving the speaker the freedom to say whatever they wish.

What advantages does attentive listening provide both the speaker and the listener?

In terms of the effects of listening training on the listener’s well-being, we have discovered that workers in the service industry who took part in the training were better able to handle difficult conversations with customers because they felt less anxious and more confident in their capacity to handle difficult situations. Since they can win over the speakers’ trust, nice listeners have been demonstrated to increase sales. In general, people are more likely to like those who listen well. Additionally, the greater social interaction one feels, which in turn can have a variety of favourable benefits, the better one listens.

Another enemy of listening is secondary trauma.

Why do some individuals listen better than others?

Due to their personality traits, some individuals may typically be better listeners than others.
It’s not like you either get it or you don’t, on the other hand. The majority of people can get better at listening with practise.

We discovered that the particular dyad is mostly responsible for the effects on hearing quality. It takes a lot of intimacy to listen. Similar to love relationships, discussion partners must mesh well in order to promote attentive listening.

How can we make sure that others pay attention to us?

Telling a narrative is one approach. To get others to listen to us, though, we need to listen to them because we can’t always tell stories. Hearing is a two-way process. Most individuals will pay attention to you when they feel you are giving them good attention.

Which abilities are good listeners most likely to have in common?

Social support, respect, and the perception of responsiveness are just a few of the positive elements that combine to make good listening. Likewise, failing to listen can be interpreted negatively.

How can we listen to people without passing judgement?

 It’s not easy, especially when the topic is important to us. But it’s possible, precisely because listening is not a passive behaviour.

The first key is awareness. Be aware that when you listen to something that you strongly disagree with, your body will likely react to the information. You might unintentionally frown or lean away from the speaker. These subtle non-verbal behaviours may be automatic and can affect the speaker and the conversation.

Secondly, don’t try to fight your internal thoughts and reactions—that would distract from the conversation. Remember, it’s not only about being non-judgmental towards the other person but also yourself.

Finally, after the conversation, by reflecting on your behaviour as a listener, you’ll realize when and why you suddenly shut off, which will likely help you in your next conversation.

What are some pointers for learning to listen well?

Try to pick up a new skill. Every one of us has unique knowledge about the world. Many of the activities that promote the ability to listen will come naturally when you have a sincere desire to learn from the person you are speaking with.

Another suggestion is to consider whether you really think you can help someone just by listening to them. People who think that listening can benefit the speaker on their own are typically effective learners. The foundation of the listening paradigm is the idea that we hold the answers to our problems within. As listeners, our main objective is to assist the presenters in discovering the solutions that are already within them rather than imparting something external.

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