Do you want to improve your listening comprehension skills?
Listening comprehension skill is a skill that is very important if you’re going to be an effective communicator.
Interestingly, developing this skill is not as difficult as it may seem.
Just as important as speaking skill is, listening comprehension skill is also essential.
You need concentration to understand what you are hearing.
Hence, everyone needs to learn how to improve listening comprehension skills.
Improving listening comprehension skills can improve accuracy and reduce errors.
Furthermore, speaking or conversing with people will be much easier when you are good at listening.
However, building good listening comprehension skills is hard for some people.
This is because they’ve been going about it the wrong way.
For this, we will be looking at why listening comprehension skills seem hard.
We will also discuss how you can improve this important skill.
But before that, let us find out the meaning of listening and listening comprehension.
Meaning of Listening
Listening is an act of receiving, understanding, responding, and giving an interpretation of non-verbal and verbal communications from a speaker.
Meaning of Listening Comprehension
Listening comprehension is the process of understanding and interpreting spoken words.
It is a part of communication skills.
Comprehension is the process of understanding and interpreting spoken words.
It also involves recognizing sound during dialogues or conversations.
Now, there’s a difference between listening and hearing.
Listening vs. Hearing
Here are the differences when it comes to hearing and listening.
- Passive process
- Physiological order
- Recognizing sounds
- Interpreting sound
- Analyzing speech
- Active process
- Interpretation of non-verbal and verbal actions
During the listening process, actions like facial expression, gesture, silence, and posture can help a listener concentrate and understand the speaker’s message.
Overall, effective listening involves the interpretation of verbal and non-verbal cues.
Reason We Find Listening Comprehension Hard
Listening is objectively hard when compared to reading which is also a comprehension skill.
Here are some reasons why we find listening comprehension to be hard:
Dialects – How To Improve Listening Comprehension Skills
There are different languages; some sound alike, while some don’t.
Some of these dialects may sound unfamiliar to us, and as a result, it becomes challenging to understand.
For a listener to listen and understand any dialect, they have to speak to a language expert to make it easier to listen and learn.
No Practice – How To Improve Listening Comprehension Skills
When you don’t practice, there is a tendency that you will lose whatever skills you have.
There is a saying, “practice makes perfect,” and this applies to listening comprehension.
Any skill that you have has to be developed and maintained with constant practice.
People most times don’t use the right pronunciation when speaking.
This, in turn, makes it difficult for any listener to hear or understand what they are saying.
Using wrong pronunciation can hinder the purpose of a message.
To make it easier for listeners to listen and understand a certain message, you have to pronounce your words properly.
Bad Technology – How To Improve Listening Comprehension Skills
Faulty recording, bad connection, and bad headphones can make listening comprehension seem hard.
Bad technology can be highly frustrating, and if you’re not patient enough, you could lose your cool.
This will also affect your listening comprehension ability.
To overcome this, you should try to get tools that are not outdated.
It shouldn’t be too expensive but should serve the purpose it is needed for.
Talking Fast – How To Improve Listening Comprehensive Skills
A speaker’s talking speed will affect the ability of the listener to listen effectively and understand.
This is especially true if you are new at learning the language that you are listening to.
As a speaker, you have to watch your listener’s expression because you may be too fast for him to listen and understand.
When the speaker speaks slowly, the listener will pick every word that has been said and understand it better.
But if it is very fast, hearing everything tends to be difficult, let alone understand what has been said.
Therefore, talking speed is one reason listening comprehension skill seems hard.
Lack of Patience – How To Improve Listening Comprehension Skills
Most listeners do not have the patience and time to practice effective listening.
Without patience, you can’t listen or comprehend what a speaker is saying.
Patience in anything we intend to do is essential.
Lack of patience makes listening comprehension appear hard.
How to Improve Listening Comprehension Skills
Your Attention Should Be On the Speaker
Talking to a person who keeps looking around can be difficult because there will be many distractions between the speaker and the listener.
Hence, you should pay attention to whoever is speaking; maintain eye contact with the speaker, and listen.
For effective communication and comprehension to take place, you have to focus and concentrate to understand.
Be Ready To Listen – How To Improve Listening Comprehension Skills
It is better to be ready or prepared to take any step because your mind needs to be set on the task ahead.
Hence, one other meaningful way to improve listening comprehension skills is to be prepared.
Be mentally prepared to understand better what will be said before you begin listening to the person.
Don’t be too hard on yourself by trying to understand everything you listen to at once.
At this point, you should aim at listening and understanding the central message.
It may not be an issue when you miss out on some fragments of the message as long you have gotten the main idea passed across.
Wanting to understand everything at once, especially someone new to this ability, may get tiring and stressful.
If you are planning to listen to a dialect or new language, prepare for this task.
How acquainted are you with the language?
Do you need to consult the dictionary?
You could try to read some books on the similarities and the culture of the language you want to listen to.
Getting ready with the above ways can make your listening comprehension skill more effective.
Ensure You Practice Active Listening To Improve Listening Comprehension Skills
One important way of improving your listening comprehension skill is by active listening.
Some people who have the mind to improve their listening skills want to listen and do other things.
Listening in this manner is highly ineffective.
Passive learning shows a lack of motivation for learning.
It becomes impossible to improve when you are passively listening.
Passive listening does not allow the brain to process any information because any little noise will be distracting since there is no concentration.
We are not saying you cannot listen to things passively when you are busy with other things, but it is not an excellent way to improve listening comprehension.
The way to improve listening comprehension skills is by active listening.
Active listening is engaging and paying utmost attention to the message.
Hence, you are motivated to listen and learn without stopping till you are done listening.
Once you are actively listening to a speaker, it shows your interest.
Even more, actively listening will make understanding easier.
In communication skills, active listening is essential and should not be overlooked.
You can do the following while you actively listen:
- Summarize what the speaker said. Doing this will prove that you were listening actively and also understand all that was said.
- Attempt questions when you are asked.
- Use nonverbal cues like gesticulating, eye contact, nodding, or body language.
- Use words like “Alright,” I understand,” I noticed,” “Thank you,” “I know,” etc. These are verbal affirmations.
- Transcribe what you listen to.
- Establish rapport and show that you are concerned and want to listen. This will encourage the speaker to keep speaking.
Have an Open Mind to Improve Communication Skills
Be open-minded to listen to enable you to get an unbiased understanding.
When the speaker is still speaking, this is not the right time to judge or criticize your speaker.
You likely won’t listen or understand the speaker if you do this because your mind is busy doing something else.
It’s hard to comprehend when your attention is divided.
Hence, all that you need to do at this point is to be open-minded and listen without interruption.
When the speaker is done talking, you can objectively ask questions or say what you have in mind but be sure not to judge or criticize.
Sometimes, the speaker may forget what they have to say or be discouraged when you interrupt, criticize, or judge.
In all, having an open mind is crucial to listening comprehension.
Listen to Things that Interest You – How To Improve Listening Comprehension Skills
The endpoint of listening comprehension is to gain understanding.
And in most cases, many find it challenging to understand what they aren’t interested in.
Therefore, listen to things that interest you.
It is more fun to listen to content that you have an interest in.
What you are listening to should also be important and have value.
One advantage of listening to the content you are interested in is that you will remain motivated and not lose focus quickly.
Take Note While Listening
This is another important aspect of improving your listening comprehension skill.
Listening does not require too much, unlike writing, speaking, or reading.
All you need to do is be close to the speaker, and the sound will filter into your ears.
Although passive listening is only good when listening to music or watching a movie but not good if you want to engage in productive learning.
You can only learn better when you take action.
In this case, you need to take action by taking notes while learning or listening.
This is important because you can refer back to the notes that were taken.
This will also prevent you from forgetting what you heard.
When taking notes, do the following
- Take note of the topic
- If you have more than one speaker, you have to take down all their names, e.g., First speaker, second speaker, etc.
- Write down all that each speaker has said, and it should be under where their names are to avoid any mix-up.
- Take note of difficult words that you don’t understand; you can check their meanings later.
- If you hear any word you like, take note of it because it can help too when you are to speak.
Listening and writing can be more interesting and keep you busy with the content you’re listening to.
It is another way of learning in an efficient and organized manner.
Pay Attention to Bigger Pictures
Listening requires a lot of attention to hear and get understanding, unlike other communication skills.
If you don’t pay attention, you can miss the main message.
Sometimes, you may not have the opportunity to get back the message that was missed.
Therefore, what you have to do is pay utmost attention, listen and get the big picture.
Listen at Various Speed
Talking fast makes it hard to listen and understand.
You would have noticed that speed matters if you’re just starting to improve your listening skill.
It will be challenging to listen and understand everything a speaker says if the speaker is fast, especially if you are trying to learn a new language.
When listening to a speaker and you find out that he is going too fast, politely call his attention and explain your challenge.
Tell him to take it slow for you to listen and understand what he has to say.
If you are listening to recorded content, you have to play the record back at a different speed, although playing back at the speed you need depends on your media player.
In all, listening at a different speed is better when there is a recording from the speaker because you can repeat the message as many times as you want and at a convenient speed till you get the message correctly.
Use a Comfortable Surrounding
Your surroundings matter a lot, especially if you want to practice or learn something.
In the same way, outdated technology can negatively affect listening comprehension.
Bad and noisy surroundings can negatively affect your learning.
You will be easily distracted when you learn in a busy or noisy environment.
Hence, find a comfortable environment that will suit what you are about to do.
A comfortable environment and good technology can help you improve your comprehension skill.
Listen At length – How To Improve Listening Comprehension Skills
To improve your listening comprehension skills, you have to listen at length; practice extensive listening.
When you practice regular listening, then you are close to improving your listening comprehension skills.
The best way to improve listening comprehension skills when you have a particular language to listen to is by listening daily and regularly.
Practice with audio, videos, podcasts.
Read and Listen At the Same Time
Reading and listening at the same time is another way to improve listening comprehension skills.
Reading and listening to the same text will connect you to how the words were written and pronounced.
This works well when you are practicing or learning a foreign language.
It also works in a noisy environment.
You are sure to understand better and faster when you read and listen at the same time.
Conclusion on How to Improve Listening Comprehension Skills
In all, sharpening your listening comprehension skills would make you a better listener and speaker.
Hence, apply these simple tips to become better now.