Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Active Listening

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Active Listening is the process of hearing and understanding the speaker, but it doesn't stop there. It requires you to interact with him/her. In other words, it is an active conversation where both parties exchange information from each other.

To listen and understand is a difficult skill to have. Learning to employ imagery and emotion to what you hear is even harder. These are especially true to me. Reading is no problem. I understand it to the core. But if we are talking about ordinary listening, well, we got a big problem.

When I read, I can process the whole message of the material. I could feel the emotion, think like the character, and most importantly read between the lines. But when I just listen, my brain goes blank. I can’t process it as fast as reading. Sometimes, the speaker needs to repeat the instructions twice or thrice for me to truly understand.

I found out that I have this condition when I worked for a BPO company in Makati. Life sometimes puts us in a place to learn something from it. I am very thankful that I had significant lessons during the short time that I stayed in there. One of these lessons is Active Listening. This is a vital skill to have when you’re dealing with customers.

For me to develop this important skill, our team leader TL Percy had me undergo AUX 6 a lot of times. He gave tips on how to improve on active listening:

1.       Watch movies WITHOUT SUBTITLES –(hmmm… This is very difficult. I would be able to understand the movie more if I have subtitle support T_T)
2.       Listen to E-books –(I tried this with Alice in Wonderland and I fell asleep in less than ten minutes; With reading, the opposite will happen… in fact, I won’t even feel sleepy)
3.       Engage in conversations on the phone and in real life –(well… I am a silent type of person and I have difficulty in thinking of topics to talk about)

If you are having the same problem as me, you might want to consider the suggestions listed above. Better yet, if you have more activities that improve active listening, you can share it with me. :)

Now that I have a different job as a Market Researcher, I thought that I won’t need active listening again. But I was wrong. I just found out that I will coordinate with people: my colleagues, accounting office, government offices, suppliers, and clients. And yes, interaction over the phone is also there. Of course, I would have to listen and process information fast.

 I never thought that what I learned in my previous job can be applied now in the present. I guess I will be able to use it everywhere and in every situation. And thus, I am very thankful to my friends and trainers in that BPO Company: To TL Percy and the rest of Team SSS; to our mentors Hara, Juner, Francis, Mae Ree, Allan, and Lester; and to my wavemates (Wave 30.10 –I miss you!). You guys have taught me one of life’s simple yet important lessons: to always have a listening heart.

:)

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