Listening for the Total Message Washington DC
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Listening for the Total Message
Did you know that you can think faster than anyone can talk? Most people speak at approximately 125 words per minute, but you can easily think at the rate of 400-600 words per minute. This continuous stream of thought often hinders listening. Therefore, when you ask a question, listen attentively to the answer. Listen for the total message. Listen to the words themselves, to the manner of delivery, and to what is not said.
Ten percent of communication comes through words, 30 percent by sounds, and 60 percent by body language. Observe and evaluate body language, emotion, attitudes, and any other apparent external or internal factor that helps you understand the total message. Here are several helpful suggestions:
Avoid selective listening - hearing only what pleases you or fits into preconceived ideas. Listen with an open mind and resist any tendency to overreact. Control nonverbal behavior; maintain comfortable eye contact, and pay close attention to let others know you care about what they have to say.
Learn to be silent. Give the other person time to finish before you jump in with new thoughts of your own. Your silence is an opportunity to listen not only for words and ideas, but for feelings. Silence encourages those who are speaking to elaborate.
Use reflective responses to communicate your attentiveness. A reflective response either repeats key words or summarizes what you think the speaker was saying.
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