The Magic of Listening – Active Listening

While having a chat with your friend, boss or spouse are you listening or just waiting to talk? We are too excited to talk about ourselves than listen to what others have to say?

Yeah, this is normal but that doesn’t mean we should keep on doing the same. We have to change this habit as the other person can become less interested or annoyed.

The real power of communication lies in listening to the other person and understanding and showing interest to them. So how can we do that? Let’s see.

The Power of Listening

There is a difference between listening and hearing. Hearing is simply receiving communication while listening is the art of paying thoughtful attention with a mind toward understanding the complete message being delivered.

Active Listening is not only just hearing what the other person has to say, it requires focus and concentration. It is paying attention to what the other person is saying, their body language. Listening is not something you should only do in the classroom, it should be used in every part of your life including your relationship, your workplace, or social life.

Listening to what the other person is saying makes them feel special and cared for. It helps you understand what the other person is saying from their voice, words, and body language. 

It makes you understand broken conversations like, if your friend is going through a hard phase you would understand what he means by actively listening to him. 

Tich Nhat Hanh, Vietnamese Zen Buddhist monk, stated, “Deep listening is the kind of listening that can help relieve the suffering of another person. You can call it compassionate listening. You listen with only one purpose: to help him or her to empty his heart.” 

Active listening helps you in making new connections and maintaining relationships. So here are some tips on improving your listening skill and making them interested in you

Tips on Active Listening

Here are some tips you can use in a conversation to improve your active listening skills.

1) Show that you are interested in the conversation

      If you are interested in what the other person is saying show him/her that you want them to keep talking about it. And blabbering isn’t the way to show that. So to show interest in the other person’s conversation, follow these steps.

  • Be focused on what the other person is saying. Maintain eye contact (by the way “Do not stare”), Be open-armed, and lean towards them. Make them feel like you want to hear their conversation.

  • Give verbal and non-verbal feedback like smiling, mirroring, making eye contact.

  • At times just repeat what the other person is saying. Reflecting shows them you are interested in what the other person is talking about.

2) Keep yourself from judging the other person – Try not to interrupt or change the subject while the other person is talking by talking like you know better than them.

3) Ask Questions – Without keeping quiet the whole time, ask some questions letting them know that you are listening and not daydreaming. Ask sincere good questions like “So what do you think is the reason behind this?”

4) Put yourself in another person’s shoes – Try to understand their feeling and thoughts without asking too many questions and making them feel uncomfortable. Let the other person know that you understand what they are feeling or going through.

5) Be patient –  Do not rush to speak. Speak at the right moment.

Active Listening in our Daily Life

Relationship

Active listening is really important in developing a good relationship. Listening to what your partner or friend is going through helps them feel cared for and secured. It encourages the speaker to open up more.

Try to hear them out before you create your conclusions. This can be helpful when an argument occurs. Before rushing and blaming the other person, hear them out.

Workplace

Actively listening is a valuable skill needed in your workplace. It helps you maintain a good relationship with your colleagues and superiors.

In case you are superior, the skill is necessary.

For example: When your subordinates give you negative feedback on your project, it is necessary to listen carefully and understand and make the required changes instead of being self-centered.

Listening skills can also be beneficial in your social life to connect with new people and make new friends.

So next time before rushing out to blame someone or to keep on talking about how tall the Eiffel tower is, make sure you  listen to what they have to say.