Being heard and understood is a need for every member of the human family. We all want to know the people in our lives care about us.
Having someone listen and respond to your needs can help you feel important. Conversely, you give others a boost when you listen carefully to them. This is where active listening techniques become essential.
In today’s post, we’re going to talk about the importance of active listening and 9 techniques you can put into practice today to help you become a better listener.
Active listening is listening with the intent to understand the meaning of what’s being communicated. You do this by allowing the person to speak without interruption, and then you repeat back what they said when there is a need to confirm understanding.
Active listening enhances one’s ability to understand, leads to fewer misunderstandings, helps build relationships and trust. It also enhances the work environment because it makes employees feel comfortable voicing their ideas and opinions.
Believe it or not, there’s more to listening than merely being quiet. In fact, someone who’s an active listener will encourage the speaker to talk, try to clarify any points they don’t understand, and be sure they’re aware of the speaker’s intent.
Before you begin a conversation, especially if the subject matter is important, be sure you’re in a location where you won’t be interrupted by noise or distractions. This sets the stage for a meaningful conversation.
Pay attention to the person speaking with you. Stay focused on what they’re saying, without trying to anticipate what they’re going to say next. Stay in the moment.
Even if you think you know what they’re going to say, try to listen to what’s actually being said.
Avoid confrontation or anger. You’re not trying to win an argument; you’re trying to understand the person with whom you’re speaking.
Try to keep your personal beliefs from clouding the speaker’s statements.
Regardless of what the speaker says, don’t make assumptions or judgments about what they said. Find out all the facts and ask questions if you need to.
Refrain from interrupting. Ask your questions in an even tone of voice when the speaker pauses.
Daydreaming about what you need at the grocery store won’t help your friend in need, and if you lose track of the conversation, you’ll come across as uncaring.
When you’re actively listening to someone, your body language will show whether you’re paying attention or not.
This lets the speaker know that you’re really listening. Also, when you say what you understood, it gives them a chance to clarify any miscommunications.
It doesn’t take long, and the results will be worth the effort. You, your spouse, business partner, co-worker, or children will all benefit from learning and employing these simple active listening techniques.
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