Here is the thing, the present-day world has become a verbal world of instructions for self-development through coaches and online recorded courses. If you miss this realization, you will have missed all the opportunities it opens up to you in your new journey for personal development and self-discovery in the digital economy. Let’s explore the Listening Skill as a necessary skill in life and business.
The foundation and importance of listening in life and business start from school. I remember how I used to enjoy the Listening Comprehension exercises in class. However, our teacher never explained its importance and significance in real-life situations. So, when I started teaching it myself as an English Language teacher, my focus and dream were to holistically and functionally teach the subject for practical application in real-life situations for myself and my learners. I had to put it across to my learners in real-life situations like being asked questions in class, following instructions of your sporting coach, being interviewed for work, or learning to drive or do anything in life and business.
The Listening Skill:
The Listening skill is necessary for learning anything through verbal communication. Forty-five percent of your interaction with people is from the listening skill. In life and business, listening promotes soft skills in an automated world where AI interferes with natural human interaction and courtesy in business and social interaction.
Listening is an art that needs consciousness and constant practice, and in business, it is a tool that promotes efficient communication in building business relationships and reputation. Here is how you can understand the art of listening, what it involves and how to put it into practice in life and business.
What is listening?
Listening is the ability to pay attention to your senses to understand someone, something, or anything. Listening is paying attention to the verbal communication and language that someone or something is communicating to you. It is being alert and ready to grasp meaning from words, language, and sounds made on audio, video, or vlog. The five factors for effective listening are;
• The place
• The situation
• The person addressing
• The time
• The purpose
It is as simple as; where it is taking place, what, who is communicating, and when and why. Here are the strategies for listening.
Though it is a passive activity, you need to make some effort to pay attention and accurately receive and interpret messages. You need to make eye contact and focus on the speaker. Avoid any distractions like radio, TV, or phone. Put everything in silence. Jotting down notes, wherever possible, will boost focus and attention to the subject matter. Be present at the moment and participate in asking questions for clarification, especially in class or workshops. Engage with other listeners by contributing to answering questions. Avoid interrupting the speaker. You can enhance your attention and focus by nodding interjections, like, Uh, Yah, Okay.
It is one passive way of gaining knowledge and insights from other people. It helps exercise discipline for paying attention to someone speaking or to videos. Most online learning for personal development these days is through video. It builds trust and rapport and makes people you listen to comfortable and confident in expressing their thoughts and opinions. It helps in listening for instructions in the classroom and at work. Most tasks in class and at work involve discussion and brainstorming as a team, so exercising listening will ensure active participation in what you need to do in projects and assignments. In marketing, listening helps in pitching a product or service. A good listener can also be influential through drawing attention from yourself to the person you are listening to by building trust and empathy with them.
Importance In Life & Business
As a social skill, it boosts your confidence in interacting with other people and grasping their point of view in life and business. Listening skill affords opportunities to learn new things. In business, listening boosts productivity by avoiding unnecessary interventions where there are misunderstandings between parties or teams. It helps in maintaining a good reputation with clients, for listening prevents misunderstandings. Therefore, it helps create good working relationships with clients, suppliers, and vendors. It also helps in boosting your networking skills. You gain insight into understanding other people’s lifestyles and how you can relate to them with what you do in life and business.
Benefits in Life & Business:
- It is a competitive advantage, for it helps you build long-term business relationships with your clients.
- It helps in building rapport, solving problems, and improving teamwork.
- Listening to other people presenting or airing their views empowers you to give your objective advice and insights.
- That boosts your confidence and enhances your relatability, and you become influential and popular.
- That can help in your branding and expand your connections and network.
- In business and solopreneurship, it helps with deadlines and prevents getting overwhelmed with projects and clients.
About eighty-five percent of what you learn is through the Listening skill. Yet, with technological distractions around us, the human listening skill, focus with the attention span on one thing has been reduced to 8 seconds, that is, under 10 seconds, which is 2 seconds worse than that of goldfish, which are notorious for their short attention spans at 10 seconds. So, as important as we have seen how essential Listening Skill is in life and business, you need to practice and exercise them for your personal development in life and business. That way prepares you to have the confidence to participate in the Digital Global World and contribute to the Digital Economy. Check for the module on the listening skill here;