Leaders are good listeners. Becoming an effective listener can help you in your classes and will help you succeed in all areas of life. Good listeners can learn more efficiently and become more effective problem solvers.
One Bad Habit
An article from the Harvard Business Review cited an extensive study that found, “immediately after the average person has listened to someone talk, he remembers only about half of what he has heard—no matter how carefully he thought he was listening.”
Even if you think you are a good listener, there may be one particular habit that is keeping you from being an excellent listener. Many people develop their responses or think about what they will say next, while another person is speaking. This habit prevents you from hearing everything the speaker is saying. The last thing they say is just as important as the first. Formulating your response before a speaker is done may cause you to jump to conclusions, respond in an unhelpful manner, or solve the wrong problem. Listening requires listening thoroughly and then giving yourself space to think before you respond.
One Good Habit
The Fast Company suggests one way to help you listen thoroughly is to summarize the speaker’s remarks. Repeat what you have heard back to the speaker. This will allow you to ask for clarification, if there was anything you didn’t understand. It also allows the speaker to correct anything you may have misinterpreted. Once you are certain you understand exactly what the speaker is communicating, you can respond appropriately.
Being able to focus on the speaker rather than your response is a challenging skill to master, but once you have, you will notice that you will have fewer misunderstandings and will be more successful at coming up with successful solutions. Listening thoroughly in you courses will allow you to contribute more fully to class discussions and have a deeper understanding of course material.
Improve Your Skills
If you want to be a leader, start working on your listening skills now. Excellent listening skills will be beneficial for learning, working and even in social situations. When you find yourself listening all the way to the end of statements and responding slower you will know that you have succeeded in becoming an excellent listener.
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