As the story goes, a New York columnist who had to attend many cocktail parties each season had come to believe a certain socialite was a less than perfect listener. It was said that this socialite was so preoccupied with making a wonderful impression on her guests that she was unable to hear anything that they were saying. To test this theory, the columnist came late to one of her parties. When he was greeted at the door by the hostess he said, “I am sorry to be so late, but I witnessed a murder and had to fill out numerous police reports.” The super-charming hostess beamed and replied, “Well, darling, the important thing is that you have arrived, and now the party can really begin.”
Having a listening attitude can speak volumes for itself. A listening attitude conveys to the person talking with you the message that says, “I respect you as a person, and I am working at understanding and appreciating your point of view.” Maintaining this genuine attitude is critical to enhancing your specific listening techniques.
The following are some listening techniques that will improve your comprehension and help you interpret information: 1. Visualize all that you hear: convert the words you hear into word pictures and experience them. 2. Ask yourself “What is the speaker trying to achieve?” and “What is their motivation?” 3. Study the non-verbals: facial expressions, tone, gestures, movements & emphasis. 4. Outline what is being said. 5. Cross-check information to test your perceptions.