Strategies for Improving Listening Skills

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Strategies for improving listening skills include paying attention to body language, focusing on word choice and listening to the tone of the words. Notice changes in the way a person speaks to improve listening skills with advice from a business management consultant in this free video on listening skills.

Part of the Video Series: Business & Leadership
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Video Transcript

I'd like to talk to you about strategies for improving your listening skills. Are you paying attention? There are several things you can do in this area and I'm going to outline three or four of them right now. There are several ways in which you can listen. You can actually listen with your eyes rather than your ears. So you can actually pay attention to people's body language and what it is they're saying in some cases what they're not saying with the words they're using. At least fifty-five percent of our communication is down to our body language rather than the words we choose to use, which account for less than ten percent. So one way to improve listening is to focus on the whole person and particularly see what they're saying as well as actually hearing. The second thing you can do is actually to focus on that ten percent. To listen really carefully to the words that you choose. We sometimes speak in different modes and different ways and we choose different pieces of language that for us mean something different. So it's quite a wise idea to check out what people mean when they say a particular word that isn't one you would have chosen because perhaps they mean something different by it. Thirdly, pay attention to the tone. I mean this is the music of communication. So it isn't so much what people say but how they say it, and if they say "I'm feeling really happy today." or if they sort of start saying "I'm really sad about this!" You might pick out differences between what they're actually, the words they're using and what's actually coming, the way that they're saying it and possibly also reflected in their body language. So pay attention to tone, and tempo, and the inflections of people's voices. Sometimes when people actually put a question mark on the end of a sentence, if they're not sure about things but it doesn't even seem like that at the time. Finally, notice all changes in the way people speak if you want to really learn what people are trying to communicate. Changes are more important than absolutes in this area. So if people start speaking really fast when they've been speaking slowly perhaps that tells you something. If they start to sort of move about a lot while they're speaking as compared with being very still, then that might tell you something else. And just read the whole person, is one way to improve this. There's one really good tip I can offer you for sort of studying this in the future is actually listen to the television with the sound turned off and see if you can work at what's happening without hearing the words. That's a really good way of actually improving your ability to read between the lines.


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