6 ways to improve listening

In a world filled with cacophony and sounds of multiple types, listening is becoming more and more sparse. The advent of technology and increasing domination of technology gadgets in our daily lives, conversations have fast approached their untimely death. Within homes, people are interacting less with each other and spending more time watching TV or reading social media posts on their personal mobile phones or tablets. This is truly a connected world with disconnected people.

listen

An obvious casualty of this limited one to one interactions is the ability to listen or in other words, listening skills. Lack of listening skills is leading to more and more gaps and distances. These distances are filled with confusion and chaos. We are building a sparsely connected world where opinions and judgments are made with partial listening – so partial information. Compound with the inherent nature of human beings to do stereotyping, we are leading to more angst and more hatred in the society.

The growing number of road rage cases are just one indication of growing angst in the society and how the sense of community if getting lost.

Three separate research articles spanning over 60 years suggest listening has not evolved as much as it should. In the first article dated 1957, the research points to the need for active listening and how it is causing loss of the high amount of business dollars.

Read more about it here.

The second article demonstrates the same problem still persists. There is still significant productivity loss due to lack of active listening.

Read more about it here.

The third article talks about the things that great listeners do and emphasizes the lacks of active listeners.

Read more about it here.

60 years have gone by emphasizing the importance of this significant skill and lack of its adoption in the world, in general. The significant loss underscores the need – especially in the context of being better business owners, managers, and better human beings.

So what can one do to improve their listening skills?

Julian Treasure has spent a significant amount of his life researching on the skill of listening. He has spent years researching the subject and has identified 5 ways on how we can improve our listening. Here are his 5 popular ways –

  1. 3 MINUTES OF SILENCE – Julian advocates practicing 3 minutes of silence every day.  With this, he says that people can be better at understanding the sounds in the environment they are operating. This helps to become an active practitioner of the art of listening and improves cognitive skills significantly.
  2. Next, he suggests understanding the MIXER. This is basically a habit of trying to identifying the different sounds in a noisy place.
  3. He further encourages people to SAVOUR the sounds in their surroundings and enjoying those sounds while relating to something familiar.
  4. Then one needs to determine the different types of LISTENING POSITIONS that are possible for them to actively participate in a conversation through listening. Following are the filters that he suggests to apply in the sounds –
    • Active Vs. Passive
    • Reductive Vs. Expansive
    • Empathetic Vs. Critical
  5. Finally, he relies on the RASA, meaning juice or essence in Sanskrit. This is expanded as below –
    • RECEIVE – Pay attention others
    • APPRECIATE – via little sounds like mm, hmmm
    • SUMMARIZE
    • ASK

With these Julian concludes that one can become a much more active listener and be effective in their realm of activity.

You can watch his Ted Video on ‘Listening of Sounds’ here.
https://embed.ted.com/talks/julian_treasure_5_ways_to_listen_better

The 6th way is to breathe in a rhythm, in tandem with the sound to focus on what is being said. 

It is important for us with the cacophony around us to become active listeners. Let’s start practicing these today itself.

You can listen to the related podcast at Soundcloud.

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