Listen Up!

Do you listen when someone is talking to you? Do you actually absorb the information from your class lectures? Do you notice sounds and noises on a regular basis and associate them with actions? Well listening goes far beyond just hearing and comprehending a speech. Listening is one of the most important functions for understanding the world around you.

Not all forms of listening are the same, some are more effective than others. Conscious listening creates understanding, and understanding is important. Here are five exercises that you can use to help improve conscious listening:

Silence

Taking 3 minutes out of your day to enjoy simple silence can help you emphasize and appreciate your listening skills. If silence is difficult for you to find, quiet is fine as well.

Mixer

Try and see how many channels of sound you can hear at once. Listen to the sounds around you and try to see how many you can hone in on. This exercise improves your quality of listening by allowing you to find out how to focus your listening.

Savoring

Pay attention to the sounds around you. Appreciate noises, like the coffee pot dripping, a water feature nearby or the sound of a hairdryer in the morning.

Listening position

There are a few different ways you perform listening, some are done consciously and some unconsciously.
Examples:
Active / Passive
Reductive / Expansive
Critical / Empathetic

RASA

Receive – Pay attention to the person
Appreciate – Make little noises to show you are engaged
Summarize – Add to what you hear and emphasize your interests, “Soooo”
Ask – Ask questions after you listen

For your viewing pleasure here is the complete video from TED Talks:

Listening Forward

Improving your listening skills takes hard work, determination, and patience. By following each of these exercises you can improve your listening skills for not only your future career path but in your everyday life. There are different forms of listening and some can be more effective than others for certain people.You want to start by evaluating the way you comprehend and answer to things. Look into each exercise and see which one would be most beneficial in your life.

Once you have picked which exercise is most accommodating to you, share below how one or all of these have helped you improve. If there is a way that you know of that was not talked about comment other ideas to help spread the word and others!

Thanks to Steven Shorrock for this photo

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