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Speak Less…..Listen More

Updated on March 23, 2015

Review The Conversation Techniques

When you are asked a question in interview then focus on the question asked and share that information which is relevant. The information shared by you should be repercussion of your views, opinions as having an opinion is one thing but thing required here is to opine in a way so that one gets connected at a deeper level and understands the core message .

Give And Take Conversation

Often, when we are in an interview, we want to get our message across, tell people what we do, focus on our achievements and share lot of superfluous data or information.

Take a pause and consider what might happen if you make every conversation about give and take. Start first with giving, by genuinely listening to what the other person is saying. Its guaranteed that if you listen and hear the whole question properly then the interviewer too will be interested in listening your part.

This is the give-and-take process. This is the point where you can begin to talk about what you do and how you are better than other potential candidates.

Listen Actively Before Responding

People know when you are listening or just pretending to listen. It’s too uncomplicated to find if another person is listening to you by his body language, posture and the expression in his eyes.

Remember, if you can tell that someone is not listening to you, it works both ways. One should always practice active listening techniques.

Engage the other person fully with your eyes, look at their face as they speak, watch their lips move, notice the angle of their head, watch their gestures.

As they speak, give them visual and verbal cues that you are paying attention, nod your head in agreement, use phrases like, “that’s interesting” or “Okay, that’s useful to know”.

Using short phrases like these and giving proper feedbacks gives the speaker notion of being heard.


We know SPEAKING is to express or communicate opinions, feelings, ideas, etc. by or as by talking: speak in our behalf, actions speak louder than words and LISTENING is the conscious processing of the auditory stimuli that have been perceived through hearing. Listening is a visual as well as auditory act, as we communicate through body language too.

Listening is often misunderstood with obeying, however, a person who receives and understands information or an instruction, and then chooses not to comply with it or to agree to it, has listened to the speaker, even though the result is not what the speaker wanted.

Listening is not just an activity, it’s an art. While listening we require to pay undivided attention. We need to listen to the spoken words and the unspoken messages. This means looking directly at the person, eyes should be connected focusing on the speaker. However often it’s seen that even though we keep listening but our attention deviates from the target, here comes the concept of Active Listening, Passive Listening and Selective Listening

Passive Listening

Passive listening is not much different from hearing. Many of us would have found ourselves in situations where our minds drift, we lose our motivation in listening, and consider the information we hear as "a background noise". We think that we are listening, but in fact we are simply letting this information skip our attention.

Active Listening

It is an important listening skill. In active listening we are genuinely interested in understanding what the other person is thinking, feeling, wanting or what the message means. We paraphrase our understanding of their message and reflect it back to the sender for verification. This verification or feedback process is what distinguishes active listening from passive listening and makes it effective.

Active listening implies listening with a purpose. We might listen to gain information.

When listening actively, we obtain directions, pay attention to details, get to know people, share interests, feelings, emotions, etc. In active listening we engage ourselves into the message that we hear, pay attention to sounds, expressions, intonation, as well as take note of what we do not understand.

Clearly, listening is a skill that we can be as much beneficial as much we improve it by becoming a better listener .The way to improve your listening skills is to practice "active listening." With enhanced skill of active listening we can influence, persuade and negotiate. One can avoid conflict and misunderstandings. All of these are necessary in every aspect of life.

Becoming an Empathic listening (also called active listening or reflective listening) is a way of listening and responding to another person that improves mutual understanding and trust. It is an essential skill for third parties and disputants alike, as it enables the listener to receive and accurately interpret the speaker's message, and then provide an appropriate response. The response is an integral part of the listening process and can be critical to the success of a negotiation or mediation.

Active Listening Augmenting Techniques

1. Pay undivided attention to the speaker

2. Show that you’re listening by the use your own body language and gestures.

3. Provide feedback by reflecting what is being said and ask questions.

4. Respond appropriately to the information that you are gaining from active listening as it is a model for respect and understanding.

Selective Listening

Selective listening is like a student with a highlighter where
he filters and summarizes to achieve comprehension. When students study they generally use a highlighter to focus on key ideas in a textbook. They might skim over text that doesn't seem critical but focus on text that gets to the point.

Attributes Of Selective Listening

  • Multitasking–When a person juggles between two tasks then he gives less attention to listening which results in Selective Listening.
  • Reaming –When we need to skim a part of information and ignore non-significant part then selective listening is recommended.
  • Prioritizing–When we need to figure out high priority information then selective listening is constructive.
  • Encapsulating- Selective listening is prescribed where we need to develop a general impression by summarizing of what is said rather than retaining exact and detailed conversation.

Selective Listening – Is It Lousy

Selective listening has a notoriety of being lousy. Even though Selective listening isn’t as definite as active listening it does have potential advantages of filtering and summarizing the information while multitasking.

Types Of Listening

Now let’s spotlight on different types of Listening as listening alone will not serve the purpose, it’s very important to target the importance of message and listen accordingly. The six types of listening are explained below

Discriminative Listening– In all types of public speeches discriminative listening is useful where the listener distinguishes between the verbal and the nonverbal message.

Comprehension Listening – Where information sharing is done this type of listening is important as Comprehension Listening means is listening to understand.

Critical Listening - is the process of listening in order to make evaluations and judgments, forming opinion about what is being said. The Critical Listening requires significant real – time cognitive effort.

Biased Listening–Here the listener filters the message and hears only that part of information which they want to hear, this form of listening is often very evaluative in nature.

Relationship Listening - Sometimes in the process of listening it is important to develop or sustain a relationship. Relationship listening is also important in areas such as negotiation

It is not always easy to speak less, it can be quite challenging at times to hold our speech when we have a strong feeling or point we would like to make in the midst of a heated or emotional discussion. However, it should be done because a quality conversation is one in which the other person is the center of attention. Let us inculcate this in our interactions and speak less so that people wants to listen more.


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