All great conversations start with good listening. There is a lot of truth in that statement. Our ability to have a good conversation starts with our ability to listen. But most of us are increasingly becoming bad at that. We are becoming very good at talking incessantly about ourselves. But we are not necessarily developing our listening skills at that rate. Multitasking has got a lot to do with that. We can watch Netflix while loading our washing machines and chop carrots while talking to a colleague. This framework of communication comes with a lot of loopholes that allow a lot of information to be missed out. This is pardonable if the person you are having a conversation with is not talking about something serious or grave. But this faulty framework is very harmful when used in a relationship. A good relationship is based on effective communication. So, when your partner is talking about a serious subject or opening up his or her heart to you, you must pay full attention and listen. But it is not always possible as our bad habits can sometimes creep in during such moments. So, what can we do?
Well, active listening is a skill that needs to be developed with practice. This skill requires us to have heightened awareness that will allow us to listen attentively, figure out the meaning behind the words that are being said and recognize the emotions behind them. And all these will come naturally when we start putting the emphasis on the other individual who is talking.
What Is The Need For Active Listening?
Misunderstanding in a relationship arises when people stop understanding each other which is directly related to active listening. When we listen actively, we pay attention to the tone, the words and the expressions. By paying attention to such details, we can understand the underlying emotions of that person even if all the cues contradict each other. Also, active listening can allow us to have a better grasp on the subject which can enable us to help the other person.
6 Things To Do To Actively Listen
1. Intend To Listen
It is important that you have a clear intention of paying attention to the other person. You need to stop all your mental activities and bring your focus to listen to the person because you owe him or her that much when he or she is sharing so much with you.
2. Open Your Mind
We all think of ourselves as rational people who are open-minded. But our emotions can often cloud our notions and judgments, even if we don’t recognize that. So, when a person is sharing something, it important for us to withhold our judgment till after. Active listening means listening rationally so as to provide a truthful conclusion.
3. Be Completely Aware
It is important that you shut down all your mental activities when you are participating in active listening. You need to be aware of all the information that is coming your way during this time so that you can process them correctly to provide right help.
4. Use Words Like ‘Go On’
It is important that while you are listening you make the other person realize that you are listening. So, it is important that you say words like “go on”, “I see”, “yes, then” etc. to convey your awareness. This will encourage the person to be more transparent.
5. Avoid Interrupting
It is important that you don’t interrupt while the other person is talking because your interruption can make him or her lose his or her train of thought. So, it is important that you allow the person to talk until he or she is finished before you make your point.
6. Hear And Mirror
This is a very reassuring thing that you need to do. You need to genuinely pay attention and hear. And you can paraphrase their sentences back to them to confirm what you heard and understood is same as what they are trying to say. This will allow you to give constructive solutions.
So, start listening today to be a better friend, colleague and a spouse.