What is Communication?
Though we all know that to communicate, there should be at least two people one is the person who is trying to communicate something and the other is the person to whom we are communicating still many of us often refer communication as the ability to speak in a particular language. In communication, listening is equally important.
“Most of the successful people I've known are the ones who do more listening than talking."
By Bernard Baruch
There is a major difference between hearing something and listening. In our daily routine, we hear many things including the sounds produced by the non-living things, it does not mean that we are listening. To listen we require focus and concentration.
Listening process has different stages, the first stage starts the moment you hear something. Sometimes at a time many sounds would go into your ears. The second stage would simultaneously start and is the stage of focusing or concentrating on a particular sound. In this stage you need to make a conscious effort to concentrate on only one particular sound. Then the third stage would follow which is the understanding stage, wherein whatever you heard you try to understand it.
If you ask me, “To become a Business Analyst, what all skills one must have?” Listening skills would be one among the top three skills which comes to my mind. Not just Business Analyst, take any profession, you would realize that listening is one of the most important skill that you should have to complete the given tasks effectively.
There are many advantages of good listening skills. If you listen actively you would have more number of friends. While with our friends we try to speak as much as possible, but as a human being it’s a general tendency that most of us like a person who listen and understand what we say. You would also be participative while in group if you have good listening skills, as if you listen and understand things you are more likely to reply accurately. Your productivity would automatically increase once you master listening skill.
The following are some of the tips to improve your listening skills:
Focus is the primary key for listening. Try to give maximum attention to the person who is trying to communicate. Do not pay attention to the other things around.
Let the person who is trying to communicate, finish first, then try to reply. Most of us never try to understand what somebody is saying and will be in a hurry to reply.
Try to figure out the big picture, when somebody is speaking something, just try to understand the bigger picture.
If you do not understand while you are listening, ask different questions until you understand it completely. It would also give the communicator the impression that you are listening.
Practice: Everyone knows that by practicing you can master any skill, listening is not an exception. By practice I mean you need to practice listening different types of sounds and in different types of situations / environments. For example:
1. When you are in the office try to listen to different people right from the security guard at the gate to the MD, whomever you meet.
2. When you have some free time, try to call the toll free numbers which have IVR options, try to concentrate and listen the different IVR options.
3. When you are travelling, try to listen to the announcements made at the Airport/Railway Station/ Bus Stands.
4. While driving, try to recognize different songs played by different people you come across.
5. While shopping, try to understand the conversations between the sales people and different customers.