Today Sunday's thought about: "HOW TO LISTEN MORE THAN YOU TALK"
"BE OPENED: OPEN YOUR EARS, OPEN YOUR EYES..."
A common barrier to effective communication is poor listening skills. The human brain processes language much faster than most people talk. This leaves time for the listener to form personal perceptions, stereotypes and judgments. Interrupting the speaker with these perceptions contributes to flawed communication. Develop effective listening strategies to help bridge the gap caused by communication barriers and you will be able to listen more than you talk.
Step 1-Utilize a listening strategy that is effective for each particular situation. Listening strategies are generalized as either a top-down or bottom up in approach.
Step 2-Employ a top-down listening strategy when background knowledge or the context of a topic is known. The idea is to listen to what the speaker says and then use your background knowledge to interpret what you hear. Then anticipate what the speaker may say next. Top-down strategies include: identifying the main idea, predicting what comes next and then summarizing the idea. This is all done in your head while listening to the speaker. Do not interrupt the speaker with your ideas while he is still trying to get his point across.
Step 3-Use a bottom-up listening strategy when the subject or context of a topic or message is not known. With this type of strategy, you need to identify specific details, recognize concepts similar to those you already understand, then identify linguistic patterns such as word order.
Step 4-Ask questions. When the speaker has completed her thought, restate what you heard and summarize the main points back to her. This reiteration of what you heard lets the speaker know that you were listening and also helps you verify that what you heard matches the speaker's intent.