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Mastering the Art of Listening
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"Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen” – Winston Churchill. Listening to a speaker requires the strength of mind to fully concentrate and be attentive through out the speech. We speak or think to ourselves as we are assured of someone who listens to. When we speak to ourselves, we use our senses to dissect the matter and use the knowledge to gain a proper understanding of the same. Using the same technique while listening to another requires a lot of skill and is considered to be an art that is to be mastered if one has to be successful in his actions.

To listen well requires a lot of practice and conscious effort to do so from the listener. He should be aware of the advantages on being attentive to the words spoken. Physical and psychological presence and a genuine interest in the subject to be spoken must be existent. Maintaining an eye contact reveals the enthusiasm of the listener which adds as a motivation to the speaker to make the topic of discussion more interesting. A highly distraught crowd can bring down the level of passion in the words spoken by the speaker. It is the positive energy of the listener that motivates the speaker to contribute more facts, thereby adding to self development through better knowledge.

A good listener should be able to repeat the statements made by the speaker and use it for clarifying the ambiguities surrounding them for the purpose of gaining awareness. His curious mind keeps him alert to what is being said and he utilises this understanding for personal development. The art of mastering the listening skill requires the listener to prevent his personal thoughts from entering his line of thinking while listening to the speaker. Listening is a skill which requires him to be highly alert to concentrate on the words spoken and the body language of the speaker.

A good manager has to develop listening skills if he is to be effective in the task performed by him. He listens to the body language and approaches the subordinate with a mind that is willing to listen to the facts that are responsible for the distraction before providing his expert advice to overcome the situation. The interest of the leader in listening to the needs of the subordinates creates a rapport between them, and brings about a team who has immense trust in the capabilities of the leader. A good manager uses his listening skills to understand the core of the problem before reacting to the same. The art of listening requires him to expel the tendency to listen what he wants to listen and not what is being told. If the manager hears his own voice, it can lead to unnecessary tensions within the team impacting the employee performance adversely. The manager should voice out his feedback on the employee needs only after the speaker has finished what he has to say. Interrupting frequently convinces the speaker that he is not important to the manager and it denotes the failure of the meeting. The leader should not complete the sentences of the speaker as if he is aware of what is being said as it is highly discourteous. A good listener can be successful in jobs as he is aware of what is to be done by listening to the instructions. The listening powers help the manager to amend his way of approach on the basis of the feedback given by the employees.

Thus, mastering the art of listening requires the willingness of the mind to do so and a conscious practice.

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