Friday, 19 February 2016

How to be an Active Listener

How to be an Active Listener

Listening and hearing are two different things! Listening takes work and is an active process. Hearing is only sound wave vibrating through your ears. 

Ever feel like you can never have a good conversation with someone? You feel that the more you talk to them, the more you become strangers. Well, instead of trying to fix them, why not look at what you can fix on. Here are some things you are doing wrong as a listener:

1.  Pseudolistening : You are fake listening to them. (We all do that when our mom nags us, admit it)
2.  Defensive listening: You are listening to them because you feel that everything they say is a judgment on you so you're listening to defend yourself and to catch them so that you can fire back. 
3.  Selective Listening: you are only listening to parts of what they are saying that you are interested in.
4.  Stage hogging: you only listen to them because you want to find a chance to slip in and talk about you instead.
5.  Multi tasking: you are doing something else as they talk.

So how to be a good listener?

To be a good and active listener :
1. Do not interrupt
2. Do not judge
3. Use non-verbal
4. Paraphrase (Based on content or emotion WITHOUT adding new words to what the person said)
5.     Focus on them. 

Ways to paraphrase: 

Hey, from what you told me, you said (describe what you hear, it must be a fact, exactly what they say, not what you feel). To me, you sounded like/ I don't know whether (your opinion 1) or (your opinion 2). Am I right?

For example: 

Hey, when I said I do not know how to do the science project after you asked me about it, you said (Intro) “Forget about it” (context). It sounded to me like you were angry at me or are you stress over the work. (Feelings). What is going on? (Question) 

This can avoid you feeling bad about them being angry at you or feeling mad at them for being angry at you when you are not sure if they are really angry at you or not. Maybe she is just stressed, or maybe she had a bad day, or maybe she is sick. So always ask!


 So you are saying that you feel sad because you could not make it to the game tonight. Is that correct?

Always get clarification. This will allow the person to know that you are actually listening and it might also help you understand what they are saying better. Maybe something they said is not what you think they said. 

This is only the first few steps to be an active listener. I have been practising this for months now and it really helped me build a stronger relationship with people I am talking to and it also got me out of a lot of trouble with misunderstandings. The steps might seem simple and a no brainer but it's hard to actually perform it and not go back into multitasking or selective listening when that is what we always do and has become a habit.

You may think you know a person but really what you see is only the surface of what they feel. 

Ask, talk, but most importantly, listen. 

hugs and kisses

No comments :

Post a Comment