The guidelines to effective listening OR How can good listening habits be developed?


Listening is very important aspect of communication. Around 20% of overall communication is listening. Therefore, one should strive for adopting good listening habit. There are following guidelines for good listening:

  1. Preparation before listening :
  2. Listening to understand, not to refute.
  3. Focusing the attention.
  4. Concentration on context.
  5. Taking notes.
  6. Curbing the impulse to interrupt.
  7. Asking questions.
  8. Summary & evaluation.

The details of each point are as follows:

1.   Preparation before listening:-

As already mentioned that listening plays important role in communication. So one should prepare himself before starting listening. In preparation, there are following guidelines:

  • Stop talking:– Human brain can perform one activity efficiently at a time, so during listening there should be no talking by the listener
  • Remove distraction:– Noisy fan, traffic noise, entrance of unauthorized persons may interrupt the listening process. All these barriers should be removed.
  • Good environmental conditions:- There should not be extraordinary cold or warm environment and ventilation should be proper.

2.   Listening to understand, not to refute:-

There could be many topics to which the listener has reservations. Apart from these reservations, the listener should try his best to understand the message.

3.   Focusing the attention:-

There may be many objects on which the listener should construct a mental outline of where the speaker is going in his speech.

4.   Concentration on context:-

The listener should keep in mind the background and theme of speech. This thing enables him to absorb the material quickly and efficiently.

5.   Taking notes:-

Listener should keep on taking notes. Hence, he should jot down ideas rather than sentences. In this way, he/she could make the message safe for a long time.

6.   Curbing the impulse to interrupt:-

One should avoid interrupting the speech until the speaker invites questions. This habit puts the speaker and listener both at ease.

7.   Asking questions:-

Asking right question on right time is quite different form interruption. Listener should have an idea to know right time to ask questions.

8.   Summary & evaluation:-

The listener should summarize and speech but not during listening process.


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