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Activities and Successful Development of Listening Skills

Updated on July 13, 2016

Listening skills requires effort

The ability to listen actively through the use of developed communication skills enables an individual to exert their influence, ideas, and opinions to another person. In addition and in fact contrast, in effective listening also offers the speaker the opportunity to reveal a greater complexity of information. This increased information flow is a result of the feeling of being "listened to". As a person actively listens they encourage the speaker to reveal more accurate revelations of truth.

This is in direct contrast to a poor listener (somebody who does not listen) who effectively locks the other person out from providing free information flow

When a person feels "locked out" they refuse to share additional information and communication effectively stops. When communication stops all negotiation and development of ideas, trust and friendship simply disappears, instead the uncomfortable silence of non-communication creeps into the room and squanders down mercilessly onto the recipients.

Fortunately when learning, or re-learning how to listen, several easily identifiable facts appear. These should form your background thoughts as you listen to your partner speak.

Theres no need to shout if you're an active listener

Learning to listen is a skill that requires time, concentration and an understanding of the components of hot developing active listening skills works
Learning to listen is a skill that requires time, concentration and an understanding of the components of hot developing active listening skills works

The 5 basic points developing active listening skills

Understanding the top 5 traits of an active listener helps you succeed in all walks of life! Learning the basic points of active listening helps stimulate better understanding. This understanding will reinforce your perceived view in others that you're a great person, easy to talk with and fully understanding of any situation.

  • Body Language – open and friendly, consider using postural echo to bond you with your speaker. Learn to subtly imitate.
  • Affirmative Nods encourage your speaker to continue
  • Paraphrasing to show you understand allows your speaker to gain confidence
  • Turning off your internal voice
  • Expressing a natural state of empathy

An active listener helps promote, as well as encourage, positive responses throughout the communication process of the speaker/listener. It’s essential to understand an effective listener keeps talking to a minimum, only using certain positive expressions of body language as well as paraphrasing to develop the conversation. In this sense learning to develop active listening skills remains a pro-active experience. A passive listener decreases the opportunities of the speaker to develop their own ideas. Passive listening discourages the promotion of connectivity and therefore has to remain secondary to the aim of developing active listening skills.

Listening Skills an Introduction

Effective Active Listening Skills in the workplace

Everyone has an internal voice that chatters away throughout their everyday experiences and work life, whether in management, CEO positions or even sales. Understanding that the internal voice provides distractions from showing true listening focus will help you realise that this voice is an unnecessary element to increasing your active listening skills. Keep those moments of listening to your inner voice to a time when you're alone or relaxing. When you need to learn to develop your active listening skills you’ll need to concentrate on how you’re listening to your speaking friend or associate.

While you are in the position of an active listener it remains essential that you capture all vocal nuances as well as changes in the intonation of your speaking partner's voice. Often as part of a defence to the revelation of information truth, a speaker will leave clues that require you to examine and respond accordingly. Similarly body-language provides a way of uniting the speaker and listener.

Listening Skills Self-analysis and the way to improve

Always analyze, through self-reflection and self-awareness, your use of body language as you actively listen. Become aware as you develop your listening skills that your body is the most effective communication machine you possess. Understand and realize that it offers you the perfect way to extend the warmth of active listening skills if used correctly. Postural echo will help your speaker identify with you and feel at ease therefore promoting an increased communication flow. Simply following the movements and body positions of the speaker, as an active listener you are in essence attuning yourself to show the other person that you are listening to not only their verbals words but their physical too!

Showing a genuine sense of empathy helps individuals feel not only relaxed as well as comfortable, but also that you really care. Through the presentation of an active genuine expression of empathy to your speaker you'll win their heart and mind. Facial expression as well as gentle words helps show that you feel concern over their discourse.

Listening is in essence Cultural

Listening Skills - learning to avoid bad body language

Maintaining a sense of active eye-contact shows that as you listen your giving your full undivided attention. Distracting your speakers flow with random eye searches shows that you’re no longer interested in anything they have to say, so they’ll shut up. Remember active listening is required, keep your eyes focused as well as natural.

Confirm that you’re following the flow of conversation by placing nods of confirmation at the appropriate cues in the conversation. Developing active listening skills utilises this body language to great effect allowing your speaker to continue talking without disrupting their communication flow remains a key to developing active listening skills.

Paraphrasing remains an essential part of developing active listening skills

When we paraphrase were basically summarising what the other person has just said. This active feedback loop has the effect of reconfirming to the listener that you’ve understood every snippet of conversation they’ve said and in its unique context. Developing active listening skills however should not be seen as a chance to second-guess your speaker’s next words. Everybody would agree that it’s regarded as downright rude to guess the next words your speaker will mention. As another negative side to developing listening skills it also shows that you’re trying to speed-up the conversation to its inevitably negative as well as unfulfilled climax.

We have two ears and one mouth so it's best to use them in proportion when it comes to developing active listening skills. Always remember to speak as less as possible. You’ll want to put yourself in the controlling position. Always ensure that you’re giving your speaking partner the greatest opportunities to develop their own thoughts as well as ideas.

How to become an active listener

The dynamics of role reversal when listening

The art of conversation and the dynamic interaction between both speaker and listener will determine how the roles will change over the conversation. Always be prepared to accept that as the conversation advances they’ll be a time when you also need to be the active speaker. This dynamic gives you a chance to convey your ideas and hopefully your speaker will be receptive to your ideas as you’ve already demonstrated effective listening skills.

Developing active listening skills requires you analyse your position within the conversation. It remains essential that you understand how you “come across” as you listen. Perhaps it’s time to practice with a complete stranger or a friend or family member. At first it may feel stifled but as you develop your active listening skills, you’ll soon find that the marriage between using your hearing as well as body language becomes almost natural.

How do you rate yourself as a listener?

Do you consider yourself an thougthful emphatic listener?

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A Word of Wisdom on how to listen

An essential listening skill quote
An essential listening skill quote

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    • profile image


      4 years ago

      Right here is the right blog for anyone who hopes to unsnrdtaed this topic. You know a whole lot its almost tough to argue with you (not that I actually would want to…HaHa). You definitely put a fresh spin on a subject which has been discussed for many years. Wonderful stuff, just great!

    • johndwilliams profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago from Essex England

      I feel body-language as a tool is misconstrued, and to some extent beyond our spoken word. It often becomes out-of-sync with what we are trying to convey verbally.

    • profile image

      Marian Thier 

      7 years ago

      Many of us listening professionals who recently attended the International Listening Association convention discussed Active Listening. What is often (as in this article) referred to as Active Listening are mostly the hygienic activities layered on top of real listening. For example, one can use what appears to be engaged body language without understanding the speaker, being able to translate messages, or act on the information. Real listening is being able to apply those three skills to what is said; but body language may have nothing to do with that capacity. So, if Active Listening is a misnomer, what is the appropriate term? We'd love your thoughts and I will share with my fellow ILA-members. (


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