How can I improve my English listening abilities?
Improving your listening abilities will not only help you with your English speaking and comprehension, but it will help you in many facets of your daily lives.
1. Make and keep eye contact with the speaker
The best way to make sure you can understand what the English speaker in front of you is saying is by making eye contact with them. Put your phone on silent and turn off the notifications and then put the phone away in a drawer. You must give the person you are trying to understand 100% of your attention in order to fully understand them. We are now in times where the human attention span is nano seconds and this directly affects our comprehension and speed when completing tasks. Look in the eyes of the speaker, don’t stare too hard to make them feel uncomfortable, and make sure you are paying your full attention.
2. Be quiet
What most people have trouble understanding about listening is that they think they should talk when the person in front of them is speaking. SHUT UP. That is all you need to do. Until the person in front of you done talking, you do not need to say anything. The point of listening is not to wait until the person across from you is finished so you can say whatever is on your mind. The point of listening is to listen, absorb, and internalize the information being given to you. So, the nexy time someone is explaining to you, don’t say a word until they are done speaking completely.
3. Repeat what the last 3 words or most important words they used
This is the best way to not only understand what you are listening to, but it is also a great way to show that you have been listening. Once you repeat the last 3 or most important words of the speakers words, you are showing yourself that you also have heard and understood what they have said. If you can not repeat and understand what they meant to say. Ask them “Can you repeat that?” or you can say “Can you say that in a different way? I did not understand” This is the best way to show that you are listening and the best way to absorb the information yourself.
4. Be open minded
You have your own opinions and pre existing beliefs about anything and everything because you are an irrational human. Do not let these opinions and beliefs get in the way of the information the person across from you is trying to give you. If you do not understand or are confused, just like in the last step, ask the person to repeat what they have said or have them say it in a different way so you can understand their perspective. No one is telling you that you have to agree with the other person. In order to increase your understanding skills in the English language, you have to become more open to new and possibly “wrong” ideas.
5. Pay attention to body language and tone of voice
When speaking and listening only around 10% of communication is verbal. 40% is tone of voice and the remaining 50% is body language. Even if you are not the best English speaker, you can tell how the person is trying to communicate with you from their tone of voice and the way their body acts when they are speaking. Speaking is still a very new phenomenon and we have not been using it for very long. With the creation of language, communication has lost some of its meaning from our more purely primordial body language.
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