The best singers clearly have a good ear that becomes more finely as they hone their craft. While hearing is the sense, listening is the art of refining that sense to its fullest potential.
Effective listening is required in all aspects of your pursuit of singing success. It is a vital component of strong, clear communication. It is required in auditions, rehearsals, business meetings, interviews for band members, when searching for the right vocal coach, and in the process of getting to know someone better.
Learn To Listen
You can learn to become a better listener by actively applying the following tips and information. The better you are able to hear and understand what someone is saying, you’ll avoid wasting time and missing important opportunities and valuable information due to poor listening skills.
First of all, focus. When someone is speaking give them your undivided attention. It helps to have an objective or purpose for meeting with the person who is speaking. That can help to anchor the conversation and keep you focused. But avoid giving your attention to distractions. By distractions, this includes cell phones!
Focus on the words the person is saying if your mind begins to drift away. It can help to take notes. But let the person speaking understand that you’ll be doing that so it’s seen as a positive tool for reinforcing their point of view while giving them your attention. It shows that you value what they’re saying.
Backup Not Playback
You can also record conversations for future reference. But don’t get in the habit of relying on the recording to fill you in. Trust me, things can go wrong. Technology isn’t foolproof. So, pay attention by taking notes or making key mental notes that you can refer to and take to heart.
Let Them Finish
Always let the person speaking finish what they have to say before you share an idea or ask a question. Of course, inspiration will spontaneously appear now and again. That’s a good thing as long as it doesn’t take the conversation away from valuable information you need. However, that spontaneity can be a great indicator of rapport that’s being built while forging a friendship or solidifying a business relationship.
Jot Down Thoughts
Remember that you can’t effectively listen if your focus becomes thinking about what you want say next. If an idea strikes you, make a quick note, and bring up the idea after the person has finished speaking.
Listen for any key points or critical information. Pay special attention to special cues that indicate the importance or extra value of a piece of information. Statements such as “always be sure to…” or “the key point is…” will likely set up information that you need.
Ask + Repeat
To help reinforce information and to confirm understanding of what’s being said, ask questions. An effective technique to assure that you understand is to repeat in your own words what has been said, and then follow with “is that right” or “am I understanding you correctly.”
You might even ask them to elaborate or give examples to help you further grasp a concept, idea, step to take, or procedure to follow. Or, you can preface your statement with something like “what I’m hearing is…” or “it sounds like you’re telling me that…” to make sure you clearly understand what is being said.
Never be afraid to give feedback. Don’t be reluctant to ask questions or make comments. These are strong indicators that you’re interest in what the person has to say. So, don’t hold back. If you have a gut feeling about something the person has said, share it.
Many times a feeling arises because of not having enough information or it can be brought about because you don’t quite understand or even disagree with what’s being said. Remember to be candid, open, and honest as you respectfully share any feedback. Give the person speaking the same respect you wish to receive.
Effective listening skills will help you perform better on session work, rehearsals, coaching sessions, business meetings, and all aspects of your pursuit of singing success. It can help you create powerful circles of connections because effective listening refines your overall communication skills.
You’ll also become more effective at gaining a deeper, sharper understanding of the feedback you receive from your audience, fans, and critics.