No matter what industry you’re planning to work in, effective communication is a skill you simply have to have. In this blog post, we’re going to look at what it means to be a great communicator, including:
- What active listening is and how to do it
- Why active listening is necessary for a career in digital media production
- How to learn active listening and other skills for a job in media
Have you ever been talking to someone and realized that, even though they seemed to be hearing you, they weren’t actually listening? Most of us have had this experience, and it’s the perfect illustration of the importance of active listening.
What is Active Listening and Why is it Important?
Active listening is foundational to effective communication, whether you’re having a casual conversation with friends or in the middle of a serious business meeting.
There are three key components to active listening:
- Hearing and understanding exactly what is being said
- Processing the information successfully
- Responding in a way that meets the needs of both parties
When you are able to master active listening, a new world of high-quality communication opens up. Problems can be solved, conflicts can be settled, and relationships can be strengthened.
Traditionally, active listening is broken down into four elements:
- Acknowledgment: The use of verbal and nonverbal gestures in order to show that you are being attentive (for example, nodding your head).
- Clarification: Establishing a mutual understanding by summarizing/paraphrasing what has been said, in order to confirm that you are correctly understanding key points.
- Self-disclosure: Communicating your own relevant thoughts, in a way that contributes to the interaction as a whole and builds a connection with the other person.
- Consistency: Sticking to a clear, consistent message during the entire interaction and across various channels of communication.
What are the benefits of active listening?
There are measurable benefits to active listening, both personal and professional:
- It demonstrates respect, showing the other person you value their ideas, feelings, and opinions.
- It builds an increased sense of trust.
- In interactions with customers/clients, it creates the perception of a higher quality of service.
- It ensures that both parties understand each other, which allows for better problem-solving.
Why is active listening important in effective communication?
Remember when, just a few moments ago, you were asked to recall a scenario in which you didn’t feel you were listened to? Consider this: how did that impact the interaction? And did it have any effect in your perception of your relationship with the other person?
When we actively listen, it makes us better communicators overall. Not only are we able to hear, understand, and actually process the actual content of the message, but we can also figure out the tone and attitude behind it. And just as importantly, being an active listener is the way to achieve a shared understanding and a stronger, more positive relationship.
How Active Listening is Used in Digital Media Production
As you can see, learning how to actively listen is something that will serve you in all areas of life, including at work, school, and even in your personal relationships. But if you’re considering a career in digital media production, then active listening is a particularly valuable skill – and here’s why.
You’ll be able to understand your client/employer’s needs, ensuring that you both are consistently on the same page.
Have you ever felt uncertain about what someone wanted you to do, so you just made a split-second assumption – and ended up being off base? This can happen frequently in the workplace and can lead to frustration and distrust for both parties.
Whether you’re communicating in person, over the phone, or electronically, things can easily become lost in translation. But if you know how to actively listen, you can use paraphrasing and clarification to make sure you’re on track.
You’ll be well-equipped to respond to feedback (both positive and negative).
In the world of digital media production, feedback comes in many different forms. For example, if you are a social media strategist, you’ll likely receive customer feedback on a daily basis, both positive and negative. Or, if you work as a commercial copywriter, you may get constructive criticism from your editor or the client.
When you are effectively tuned in to what is really being said, you’ll be ready to formulate a response that satisfies everyone involved. This will make a world of difference in your customer and client relations, customer retention, brand image, and even your long-term professional success.
You’ll build more authentic professional relationships.
Cultivating genuine connections is beneficial in virtually any industry. Your colleagues, clients, and even your audience will appreciate your commitment to seeing them as “real people” who deserve to be truly heard.
You’ll also be able to learn more about the people you encounter throughout your work, which will empower you to have more productive interactions, create higher-quality content, and make a lasting impression. We all want to feel that we have been heard, which is why active listening can have such a significant impact on your relationships.
You’ll be better prepared to “read between the lines” to go above and beyond in your professional role.
We’ve all experienced interactions that left us feeling like important things were left unsaid, both at work and at home. But with active listening, you can often pinpoint the core message that a person is trying to communicate, even if they aren’t coming right out and saying it.
Professionally, this can be a major asset. For example, imagine that you’re working with a client on a new social media advertising campaign. They might be struggling to articulate exactly how they want the campaign to look and feel, which could make it difficult to come up with something that meets their (unclear) expectations.
However, active listening may help you make the necessary connections to decipher what it is they really mean, so you’re able to deliver content that they’ll love. And beyond that, you’ll be demonstrating your ability to support more effective professional communications in a way that helps you set yourself apart.
Discover Your Dream Career in Digital Media Production
Whether you know exactly what type of media career you want, or you simply want to explore your passion for media, a future in digital media production can be an excellent path to take. Dynamic, creative, and innovative, the world of digital media offers virtually limitless possibilities. You can build brands using social media strategy, craft the audio for award-winning streaming entertainment, or develop content for the latest mobile apps – ultimately, it’s up to you!
But first, you’ll need to be prepared with the knowledge and practical skills to break into the industry and stand out from the competition.
The BeonAir Network of Media Schools in Miami, Chicago, Colorado, and Ohio has created a Digital Media Production program that takes students on an educational exploration of many mediums, techniques, and strategies used to create launch, and perfect content. You’ll learn about each stage of the planning and production processes, building a skill set that includes branding, marketing, public speaking, editing, and so much more. Plus, you’ll get to have hands-on experiences that take you outside the classroom and into a real-world environment.
For more information about how you can start pursuing your professional goals, contact our team now!
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