We must take into consideration that there are many styles of listening and many obstacles to overcome. In a team, exercising your listening skills appropriately will determine the success of the team. Listening well, which means active listening, “is an attempt to clarify and understand another’s thoughts and feelings,” this takes a lot of effort. But in the end, it is worthwhile. Active listening will improve your verbal and nonverbal communication because you will know how to respond due to the factor of well-developed listening skills.
But how do people communicate?
We communicate, verbally, non verbally and visually. With so many ways to communicate it is no wonder that we encounter problems in our daily lives due to our communication. N. Nayab (2017) states that we share thoughts, opinions, and information through speech, writing and signs and that everyone communicates differently. The communication can range from verbal and oral communication, wordless messages or messages through body language, facial expressions, para language and visual aids.
Two types of communication that I want to highlight are verbal and nonverbal communication. Verbal communication is done in spoken format or written form such as video conferencing, lectures, e-mails or legal documents. Nonverbal communication is done through gestures, eye gazing, and posture.
When I communicate non verbally, I’ve been told that I sigh a lot. By sighing, I communicate with my family or my staff that I either need a hug or some words of encouragement because I might be having a stressful day. On days where I’m jovial, I smile a lot, and I hug everyone I see. I believe that both my family and my staff prefer the later person.
By investing time in learning about nonverbal communication you can help others understand why you communicate the way you communicate non verbally. I remember when one of my staff members asked me, why I would sigh a lot. “I had no idea I was doing that,” I responded. My employee expressed that I would do it on most days and that she was worried about my stress levels affecting the rest of the team. I began to pay more close attention to that behavior and asked my family if they had noticed me sigh before; the response was a resounding and unanimous YES! I was not aware of this nonverbal behavior which was confusing my staff and family as they were interpreting the behavior as damaging. When I communicated that it was a way to relieve stress as a pressure cooker and how they could help me get there faster, it provided a practical and positive way for them to respond to my nonverbal cue. This kind of information also works the other way around in that when we learn about nonverbal behaviors in our team or in our workplace, we are more aware as to the proper way to respond positively to others’ nonverbal behavior.
I would like to encourage you to look into ways that you can improve your listening skills and they will make you a better well rounded person and a great company in any setting. I have personally learned that to become a better listener, I must have a notepad and pen to take notes because I forget easily due to all my daily duties and demands. I have heard that when you engage in writing the essential words of a presenter, you will stay more in tune. Find out what will work for you and help you become a better listener and share below.
Communication is a gift to humanity and can be used in so many forms. However beautiful, it is also complex and can cause serious problems when not used correctly. Therefore, I believe that everyone should strive to improve their listening skills and you will in turn improve the quality of their life.
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Active listening hear what people are saying. n.d. Online. 21 April 2018. <https://www.mindtools.com/CommSkll/ActiveListening.htm>.
Beebe, S. A and Masterson, J. T. Communicating in small groups principles and practices. 11th. Boston: Pearson Education Inc., 2015. 21 April 2017.
Nayab, N. How are you communicating to your team? Ed. Rebecca Scudder. 8 March 2017. Online. 21 April 2018. <https://www.brighthubpm.com/methods-strategies/79297-comparing-various-forms-of-communication/>.