In a 2018 survey by the National association of colleges & Employers (NACE), Verbal communication skills ranked first among a job candidate’s “must have” skills & qualities.

It’s not surprising that this hasn’t changed even today in the “New normal” that everyone loves to quote. If you were to check the top 3 skills needed to excel in your career “Communication skills “will feature in that. But the surprising thing is how most of us take it for granted!

Being able to communicate effectively is perhaps the most important of life skills & it plays a crucial role both in our professional as well as our personal lives.

Communication skills can help build bridges or burn them depending on how you use it. It can take a lifetime to master this skill, if indeed anyone can ever claim to have mastered them. But the good news is one can do many simple things to improve it consciously. We will be learning about it throughout our lives so we should probably look at developing excellent communication skills as a Life time project. However, I must say, it’s worth starting the journey.

We could take this journey together & explore the nuances of the same in a series of articles which will address the various facets of Communication Skills. Some would be from the learned teachers, peers & a few from my own personal experience.

So, today’s learning is “Why Listening is your Number 1 tool to improve your communication skills! That sounded a little jarring, right? We were just warming up to the  communication being so crucial part & I just jump to something different & say listening is the most important part of it !! Well, that’s how it is!

Some statistics suggest that 90% of people are poor listeners! That’s probably a little exaggerated but I’m sure you have noticed them around you all the time. These are the people who will not let you complete a full sentence in peace. They have to have a say in everything, will interrupt you, whether it’s your presentation or even if you are sharing an anecdote that has happened with you. Like Stephen Covey had said “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply!”

I had a colleague of mine who no matter what happened in anyone’s life would have a similar story to share. It was like if I said, Hey guys, you won’t believe what happened to me at the Metro today & before I can even continue this person would have started saying ‘you know the other day when I was in the Metro …blah..blah..blah…. You get the gist of it, right?

So which side are you in? Are you consciously /actively listening to the person who is speaking or are you the person who has already started constructing your replies without even listening to the speaker completely?

Let’s introspect on how we rate our listening skills before we start mastering communication skills.

3 levels of listening

We all need to target to be in the 3rd level, that’s when our Communication skills mastery would start. So let’s consciously start practicing Global listening till we come to the next step in our journey.Do let me know in the comments section if you relate to the thoughts mentioned here. It would be interesting if you could share your experiences in your journey so far.

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