Most people in real life confuse communication with vocalizing or speaking. Are you of the same conviction? Then, you have to tweak your beliefs to a certain extent as you are missing out on an integral part of communication, that is Active listening.
You would be of the view, what’s so exceptional about listening, with all the listening that you do every day. But, in all honesty, you are actually just hearing and not listening to what others have to say.
So, let’s find out what active listening is? What is the meaning, its importance, and how can you become an effective listener? Step by step, we will conquer each domain. Read now!
WHAT IS ACTIVE LISTENING?
Active listening is the capability of a person to concentrate on the speaker, to hear the speech, to construe, and to react correspondingly. That’s the fundamental meaning.
Now let us know how active listening differs from passive listening? Whereas passive listening is hearing without reacting: encouraging others to talk without interrupting them. Not doing something else at the same time, but not even paying attention to what is said. By contrast, active listening depicts the other side of the coin. Active listening is an ability that lifts you to engage with the speaker and then remembers precise details without requiring repeated information.
Possessing this highly valued interpersonal communication, active listeners use verbal and non-verbal strategies to focus attention on the speaker and hear out properly. This not only encourages your concentrating capacity but also allows the speaker to see whether you are concentrated and engaged.
An active listener takes the words of the speaker carefully and commits knowledge in mind rather than worrying about and mentally rehearsing what you will say when the speaker has finished.
IMPORTANCE OF ACTIVE LISTENING
Honestly, put your hand to heart and answer yourself, would you like it if you are pouring your heart out and the person isn’t listening to you? It feels demeaning, isn’t it? That being the case, you know active listening is necessary.
Talking about the professional domain, active listening holds more value. Why? Because you need to vivaciously pay heed to learn both the bigger picture and minute details. When you listen actively, the boss will see the difference between reaction and the job that follows.
The very first place in your career where constructive listening plays a significant part is in the interview process. By paying careful attention and establishing eye contact with the employer, you can illustrate that you are engaged in a position, that you can help fix challenges, and that you can operate together as a team.
HOW TO BE AN ACTIVE LISTENER?
BE ATTENTIVE AND ESTABLISH EYE-CONTACT
Eye contact is considered an essential component of good communication in most Western cultures. Looking at others in the eye while talking or listening adds a sense of importance, durability, and steadiness.
Anyhow, eye contact doesn’t mean you have to stare like a hawk at the person. Carrying on as a normal person, you could look away now and again. What is significant is to maintain attentiveness.
To sustain alertness, you have to forbid and filter out the distractions like background noises. Moreover, strive not to dwell on the dialect or speaking mannerisms of the speaker to the point that they become disruptions. Ultimately, don’t get disturbed by your own feelings, emotions, or perceptions.
BE ALL EARS AND PICTURE OUT THEIR THOUGHTS
Whatever be the discussion about, attempt to draw it out in your mind. A picture is worth a thousand words. Portrait view in your subconscious will favor and validate retention and make it easier for you to recollect the concepts in the offing.
Altogether, try to stay focussed and remain all ears to what is being said by the other person. If your minds appear to drift, push yourself to refocus immediately.
DON’T CUT THE TALK
We often teach our children- not to interrupt anyone while talking. Yes or no? Yes, but introspect yourself. Do you commit the same mistake? Maybe at times, we do.
Particularly, cutting the talk in between portrays a morally wrong and rude impression on the other person. It emphasizes that you are condescending. That is to say, you only value whatever you say. The viewpoint of the other person is not at all relevant to you.
Besides, you may want to clarify some doubts or points. Of course, you should do that but try to wait for their pause to filter that out; instead of interruptions.
FOCUS ON NON-VERBAL CUES
We’re accumulating a lot of information about one another without uttering a word. For instance, a friend may not be speaking, but the shut mouth and waned face can provide us an insight that something’s wrong. Even on the phone call, the intonation and chuckles give a clear implication that the person is doing well.
Furthermore, meet in person with a human, you can easily discern anticipation, boredom, or agitation in the look around their eyes, the set of their lips, their body language. There are indications that you can’t overlook. Know, as you listen, that words express just a fraction of the meaning.
PROVIDE INTERMITTENT FEEDBACK
Demonstrate that you appreciate where the speaker came from, indicating the emotions of the speaker. “You must be ecstatic!” “What a dreadful nightmare with you.” “I know you’re probably confused.” Whether the emotions of the speaker are concealed or vague, try to rephrase the intended message.
Or naturally, smile and demonstrate your comprehension by acceptable
facial movements and sometimes timely “hmmm” “yeah” or “uh-huh.”
I believe after a thorough go through of the article, your conviction regarding listening, or should I say Active listening, has been revised. Thus, as far as possible, you will work upon becoming an active listener.
Remember that, be attentive, establish eye contact, don’t interrupt, focus on non-verbal cues, and last but not least, provide feedback.
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