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Listening is one of the most important skills you can learn. It is especially important right now, as we continue to engage in conversations around racism, bias, and fragility across the globe.
There is a big difference between hearing and listening. When you hear someone talk, you are simply recognizing that something is being said. When you are listening to someone, you are actively engaged in what is being said. Listening to others is critical as it helps us obtain information, understand, enjoy, and learn.
Most of us might think we are good listeners, but the reality is — we only retain 25%-50% of the information we hear. For many of us, information needs to be repeated 5-7 times for us to register it. Listening is not just about waiting for your turn to say something to contribute to the conversation. Despite our constant “practice”, we have a lot of work to do to improve our listening skills if we want to make people feel like they are being heard and valued.
Active listening requires us to remove all distractions, listen to the speaker’s signs and sounds, and feed back what we have heard. To help you practice honing these skills, we have compiled a list of tips you can use to practice.