Active Listening is a communication technique that has been designed to help deepen the understanding between speaker and listener. In doing so, we are able to:
- Build stronger relationships
- Improve our ability to influence, persuade and negotiate
- Avoid misunderstandings and unnecessary conflict
- Connect more meaningfully with others
There are 5 key steps to active listening:
Ready – remove any mental and physical distractions so you can give the speak your full attention.
Receive all the information – listen to both the words and the subtext that is conveyed through the speaker’s verbal and non-verbal signals; listen for facts and feelings.
Review – evaluate what you have heard: are the words congruent with the verbal and non-verbal signals? If necessary, clarify by asking questions.
Respond accordingly – only once you’re sure you’ve understood the speaker as intended should you determine the appropriate response.
Remember – find a way to commit the information to your long term memory so you can retrieve it later, for example paint a picture with their words, creating associations, using symbols, or attaching a feeling.
One of the most precious gifts you can give to someone is your time. So as you go about your day, make the choice to actively listen to your team, customers and peers.
Get to know them and understand what makes them tick; what they care about and what they need.
In doing so, you will become a more compassionate and empathetic communicator and connect far more meaningfully with each of your stakeholders.