In the world we live in today, listening has never been so important. We are constantly badgered with information from all kinds of sources and channels. This has severely impacted our attention span and I read in one report that the average attention span of today is only 8 seconds, compared to 12 minutes in the eighties.
With all of these, it is hard to listen or to be listened to, and the lack of listening has created a dimension of problems in all the relationships we find ourselves in, be it with family, friends or work colleagues.
So what can be done to improve our listening? Well, we just need to observe the age old common sense rules of listening by firstly, listening to understand what the other person says means to us, then preparing to ask questions to clarify our understanding. Secondly, we must listen to understand the other person completely and not to only answer to what we have heard. A third thing and possibly the one requiring the most maturity is listening to their body language, tone of voice and emotions.
You will find that doing these things builds on your emotional intelligence and helps you to become a wonderful communicator and the kind of person everyone would love to be around.