|My "Desk" in Today's Lecture Hall|
Today’s morning session was a lecture on listening. We learned about the different forms, the agendas behind them, and verbal/non-verbal signs to show that you’re listening (or at least pretending to, haha). As it turns out, listening isn't as nearly as passive as anyone in the lecture hall had originally thought; it takes a surprising amount of energy to remain focused and attentive. One of the topics that I found most appealing was the segment on body language—body language (both positive and negative) really influences the way that you perceive others and the way that others perceive you. Typically, the audience’s body language parallels the speaker’s level of confidence. For example: negative body language (crossed arms, lack of eye contact, etc.) causes the speaker to lose self-confidence and tends to derail their train of thought (so, if you ever want to get out of a conversation, this is probably the way to go…), while positive body language (head nodding, smiling, etc.) leads to increased levels of confidence and an overall easier interaction. Another way to show “attentive listening” is verbal encouragements. The two main components of verbal encouragements are open and closed ended questions; open-ended questions include key words such as “who”, “what”, “when”, “where”, “why”, and “how”, while close-ended questions have the basic yes/no type of answers. When listening to others you have to remain understanding and sympathetic, without being condescending. On the other side of things, when expressing yourself, you have to be assertive, yet compassionate (through using “I” statements, rather than the more accusing “you” statements). Overall, I found that what I learned in that 3 hour session to be extremely helpful in the way that I communicate with people, both verbally and non-verbally.
"Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply. "
-Stephen R. Covey