“A talker is a person who values just himself, and a listener is a person who values others too.”
Whether you are a boss, a leader, or an employee – Communication is important. Communication is the bridge where you can walk through failure and still succeed. However, a lot of people don't understand the value of communication. They think it is about how you talk to others. Providing information, giving instructions, collecting feedback, and rinse and repeat. But no, this is just the one side that constitutes effective communication. It is called active listening.
Unfortunately, what should be so easy to accomplish anytime has now become an art to be mastered. Yes, active listening in times of Twitter has become such a rare thing that you wouldn’t be wrong to give it the distinction of modern-day art. Don’t people understand how important active listening is? Most people would talk and talk and talk more to get a job done. While that may be beneficial in the short term, it definitely will have long-term repercussions. More or less, it is equally important that to improve your chances to better yourself try to become an active listener. Active listening also helps in collaboration. But before we get there, let’s take a look at some of the benefits of active listening.
Benefits of Active Listening
Dalai Lama, a renowned spiritual leader, and a monk, once said, “When you talk, you are only repeating what you already know. But if you listen, you may learn something new.” If you can think over what he said, you will realize that he is right. No man has ever learned something new with just talking. However, with his ability to listen, it can be a completely different story. Following this observation, here are some of the benefits anyone can obtain from active listening.
You can learn more from listening to what others have to say.
It helps in the creation of a culture where people find themselves welcoming.
Deepens the professional as well as personal bond.
Increases engagement that’s essential for an organization to grow.
Facilitate dialogues and sets a tone where everyone feels valued.
8 Steps to Become an Active Listener?
Now that you are aware of the benefits you can reap from active listening. It is time to learn more about becoming an active listener (unless you already are). So, follow these eight steps below one by one:
1. Set a Goal to Learn Something from Every Interaction
Whether you participate in any conversation, try to come out with something you didn’t know already. For instance, you can consider the person you interact with as someone who can teach you something valuable.
2. Talk Less and Listen More
When you are part of a conversation, ensure that your focus remains on listening more than you do the talking. Also, try not to think about what you are going to say next. Instead, focus more upon listening carefully to what the speaker is saying. It is this quality that can even help to build the right team for a startup.
3. Keep the Conversation Open
While in a conversation, you must consider keeping the dialogue open and ensure the other person involved in the conversation knows about it. When you do such a thing, invite people to put up more open-ended questions that otherwise may have been avoided by them in fear of being judged or taken otherwise. As a result of keeping the conversation, you will now have more information to run through than you could have had. While you may not be aware of it, but doing so is one of the best productivity tools for business.
4. Go Through the Details
After you have effectively gathered a lot of information from an open conversation, you can think through those questions and come up with a better conclusion.
5. Summarize Your Response and Put it Out Nicely
Once you have a rundown of all the details you had collected from the conversation, you can strategically come up with a better going forth. However, it would be best if you were not outright rude about asking them. Try to put your response as politely and calmly as possible. As a result, people will be more willing to explain themselves further.
6. Encourage the Speaker Whenever Required
At times, especially in workplaces, you will notice that speakers might fumble or have a tough time addressing their point of view. There it would be best if you encouraged them to continue as a gesture of active listening. You can do so by either enabling them with positive words or simply by smiling and nodding to express that you are listening to them.
7. Check Speaker’s Body Language
Sometimes, the message the speaker must be trying to put across may not be undeniable in their words. It may be due to their inability to express themselves fluently. Hence, you must keep checking their body language as well. Body language can help you understand a lot more about what the speaker is trying to convey.
8. Pay Attention to Your Responses
An active listener will always remain mindful of what they will say. It’s a sign that they have heard the speaker closely. So, try to be as respectful with your responses as possible. While doing so, you may consider keeping the conversation open as a sign of respect.
The eight steps above clearly state how you can become an active listener. All you have to do is follow them diligently. However, while doing so, you must remember that active listeners are full of patience and perseverance, despite the occasional wrong treatments they may face.
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