The Importance of Listening Skills in Communication

Communicating is all about give and take – or is that the art of conversation? I think good listening skills are a vital component in your repertoire of communicative skills.

You’d be surprised to find out though that most concentrate on what they have to say, leaving what others say to them. In some respects that is how it is; you can’t be responsible for what others say, can you? Well, nobody’s asking you to, but what they do say might well depend on what you say.

Opening up to someone only happens if they are good listeners – look like they are genuinely interested in what is being said. If you are just waiting for the other person to stop so that you can hold forth, you’re not a good listener, you’re certainly not a good communicator, and you are probably a crashing bore too! You’ve met the type; the guy – yes, usually men, who tells you his life story starting with how much he earns.

You ladies must know this type – Are you kidding me? Says one, I can’t get away from them!
Guys, if you want to go on a second date you are going to have to listen – listen – listen. When you do speak, make it relevant to what’s just been said – rather than turning it into being relevant to what you want to bang on about, no matter what!

Listening also means watching too – and so does speaking – watch the eyes and expression of the person you are conversing with. The self-help psychologists will give you tips on this – finish her sentence with her – raise your eyebrows when you talk – maintain eye contact – all that!

The fact is that just being you is enough, don’t be someone you are not. It is so easy to spot. You’d be wasting your time and hers – oh, there she goes!

Being yourself sort of only works if you have a pleasant, well rounded personality. If you don’t have one of those, get one and get it quick. How to do that is to listen and be interested in the speaker and what she is saying.

I go for a coffee with the nice people who run the coffee shop at the church where I attend. They are usually older people – not much older than me – but generally they are in their sixties. Of course, there are lots of lovely people sitting drinking coffee and chatting most days, and there are a few lonely people too – usually males.

They too have their stories, however, and many of them have interesting stories. Listen to them – they are out once a day and need to speak – let them and listen and learn.

For the rest, the ones that are neutral in the personality stakes won’t appreciate it if you don’t listen to them, and hey presto – before you know it, you’ll be the one on your own, going out once a day to be heard.

Above all – be nice – sure, it’s difficult sometimes – but it IS always worth it, and here’s a bonus – if you are good at listening, you’ll have more and more to write about.