It is unfortunate that with the advent of messaging via different media platforms, we are losing the art of listening to each other. The only listening we excel in is that of music on our ear phones! Listening is an essential part of communication as we get to hear the other person’s point of view and in turn, they hear ours. Just like any other skill, we need to hone and practise our listening skills.
Active listening plays an important part in resolving conflicts and in counselling. A conscientious judge listens to both the defense and the prosecution. A psychiatrist listens to the patient and does not let his mind wander. It is important to maintain eye contact with the speaker as this indicates that you are paying attention. The listener should maintain an open, relaxed posture with one’s legs and hands uncrossed. Do not interrupt the speaker but do nod at times to indicate that you are listening. Your voice and tone when interacting with the speaker should be modulated. A good listener picks up the body language of the speaker. Repeat what he/she says after a pause in order not to create a misunderstanding. One should avoid talking too fast as if one is in a hurry to catch a train.