As I was browsing through the internet, I came across this interesting article on how to be an effective listener. For those who have difficulty in listening to others, here are some important tips to improve your listening skills :-
Everyone desires to be heard. When we listen to others, we validate their need to be acknowledged and understood. Deep down inside, we all want to know that we matter, that we are important. Don’t you find that meeting someone who shows interest in what we have to say, we tend to take a liking to them instantly?
The following are techniques to being an effective listener. I have learned these from communication courses, seminars and books on personal relationships. These are ones I’ve personally found to be useful when engaged in a conversation with other people:
1. Mirroring - mimic the other personal facial expressions and body positions. React as if you have become their mirror. Mirroring will allow you to feel what they are feeling, and have a deeper understanding of feelings carried with the words. People will begin to feel very comfortable being around you without consciously understanding why. After trying it myself, I learned that you can experience what others are feeling, but might find yourself on the same wavelength with similar thoughts and visions. Our physiology (facial expression, gesture and posture) can affect our internal state. Mirroring is just a technique to put yourself in a position (literally) to accept and internalize the meaning behind the words.
2. Focus On Them, Not Yourself - In conversations, I often lose my mind in my own thoughts. I get hung on what I’m going to say next or random thoughts like, ‘How do I look?’, ‘I’m hungry’, ‘What should I do tonight?’ The trick is to shift that attention and focus on the speaker. Give them your full attention. Be genuinely interested in them and what they have to say. Here’s a quote from Dale Carnegie extracted from principle 4 of “How to Win Friends and Influence People“ “Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.”
3. Active Listening - It’s easy to let your mind wander while someone is talking. It’s also natural to focus on how you plan to respond to the speaker rather than giving your full attention. Try active listening to shift focus on listening:
4. Repeat - Repeat what they are saying in your head, in your own words. Internalize the meaning of the words.
5. Summarize what you heard. A great listening technique involves rephrasing the speaker’s words and repeating them back to them. This verifies that you understood what the speaker said, and also gives the speaker a chance to clarify their thoughts. You can start the sentence with “So what I’m hearing you say is” or “Are you saying that“
6. Look for the message - Look for keywords. Don’t just listen with your ears, but also with your heart and soul. Connect with them. There are so much more said than just words alone. Try to ask yourself, What is their point? Where are they coming from? What do they need? What they are saying in words is just an expression, but there’s always an underlying message. Look for that core message.
This video is specially dedicated to my "Precious Five" : (From L-R) : Ika, Afiq, Farah, Aizat and Fatin;
When you think that...... you don't have the best shoes..... or the most recent computer..... or that you are tired of your school.... or that your life could have been better, remember their faces......(the faces in this video)
1. Challenge current approaches to your work. Think about whether you and your direct reports can work together in new, previously unimaginable possibilities.
2. Challenge existing beliefs and assumptions. Ask yourself, your colleagues and your direct reports whether your current views about how things are done in your company are correct.
3. Be educated. Take a course on a subject like creative thinking, creative writing or improvisational acting to help you flex your creative thinking muscles.
4. Use Mind-Maps. On blank sheet of paper, draw pictures, your ideas and the way in which they can be connected. You can have more connections than if you simply listed ideas on a piece of paper.
5. Be positive. See problems as challenges and opportunities. Open your mind to new ideas, even if they at first they seem absurd.
6. Call on creative types. Identify the creative people in your company. Call on them to get involved in brainstorming sessions and other such activities if you need help stimulating participants’ creative juices.
7. Change your routine. Make small changes in your daily routines and physical environment to help you see that things can be done in different ways.
8. Listen for change resistance. When you hear someone say, "We have always done it like this," be ready to challenge their assumptions. Use the phrase: “Up until now...” (We’ve done it this way; we haven’t been able to do this, etc…).
9. Book time to be creative. Block out time in your daily routine that is not booked with a meeting, task, or other work. Use this time to let your thoughts wander: You may also find yourself thinking of new ideas to solve old problems.
10. Model creativity. By offering playful and seemingly absurd ideas to others, you model creative thinking. Others may emulate you-further spreading the creative energy in your group. ivities if you need help stimulating participants’ creative juices.
Here are a few actions and tips to help you develop the power of positive thinking: Always use only positive words while thinking and while talking. Use words such as, 'I can', 'I am able', 'it is possible', 'it can be done', etc.
Allow into your awareness only feelings of happiness, strength and success.
Try to disregard and ignore negative thoughts. Refuse to think such thoughts, and substitute them with constructive happy thoughts.
In your conversation use words that evoke feelings and mental images of strength, happiness and success.
Before starting with any plan or action, visualize clearly in your mind its successful outcome. If you visualize with concentration and faith, you will be amazed at the results.
Read at least one page of inspiring book every day.
Watch movies that make you feel happy.
Minimize the time you listen to the news and read the papers.
Associate yourself with people who think positively.
Always sit and walk with your back straight. This will strengthen your confidence and inner strength.
Walk, swim or engage in some other physical activity. This helps to develop a more positive attitude.
When we were told to name our own blog by our course's instructor, that's the first one that crosses my mind at that time. I thought that's what I'm affectionately known as, to my students. Although its nowhere near my "nickname", I kind of getting used to that name already. For me,"Honey" sounds catchy, sweet, simple and nice. In fact, I used to spell my name "Honey" during my primary school days, (although it's suppose to be "Hani') . Anyway, as a start, the main reason for me to start blogging is to share ideas and knowledge with others over certain issues and challenges that evolve around us. I hope it would be a fruitful one for us and would enable me to keep myself occupied whenever I'm all bored and stressed out.
At last, I've managed to create my own blog! After a two days' course on "Internet Technology in Teaching and Learning" organized by Center of Teaching and Learning (CTL) of the university, I've finally discovered various methods of exploring teaching materials via internet! It makes teaching much more fun and interesting. I must say, its quite a challenge for a person like me who've started a teaching career (1980's) with just merely "board and chalks'! Thanks to CTL for giving us the opportunity to learn new means of teaching, in a much smarter manner, especially in terms of getting new resources/ materials from the cyber world, where knowledge sharing is vital in making all of this possible!