A few weeks ago, I had an alarming revelation: I’m a crappy listener.
That came to light when someone important to me pointed out that I don’t seem to have any interest in what he does for run. aYour eyes only glaze over whenever I talk about my job, a he told me.
I couldn’t deny that. And it wasn’t limited to him — whenever someone spoke to me about something that I observed less than fascinating, I had a tendency to tune it out. In reality, I could learn to appreciate my friend’s line of work, for example, if I learned to listen actively.
It’s an imperative ability — at work, and in your personal life. After all, if youare never paying attention to what your boss, your significant other, or your kids are saying to you, how are they supposed to take you severely? How can you expect them to come to you for advice, or with important information? When you donat listen, you set the precedent that you canat be trusted to assimilate what matters to other people.
Thatas why itas imperative to learn how to listen actively. Itas one thing to sit and stimulate eye contact with the person speaking to you. But are you really absorbing what theyare saying? And furthermore, are you reacting in such a way that communicates that youare actually listening — and that you have something worthwhile to say in return?
There are a few key phrases out there to demonstrate that youare listening actively. And itas true — youare not going to care about every conversation that someone initiates with you. But even if the topic isnat important to you, the person sharing it might be. Read on to learn how to pay better attention, and how to show that youare doing so.
How We Listen
To listen, according to Merriam-Webster, is ato hear what someone has said and understand that it is serious, important, or true.a
Itas that second part of the definition that stands out to me — especially when it comes to active listening. Itas the genuine absorption of what someone is saying to us that reinforces and communicates how severely weare taking it, or appreciate its importance.
Of course, there are many reasons to listen. It helps us to satisfy different physiological goals. We listen to alter our moods, stay alert, and figure stuff out — in humans, thatas been the case for pretty much as long as weave existed. The process starts when we receive auditory stimulations. Then, our brains have to interpret that stimulus. That’s enhanced by other senses — like sight — which help us better interpret what we’re hearing. Thatas important. When someone is sharing information with us, our non-verbal reaction also communicates to that person how actively weare listening.
Once we receive and interpret auditory signals, we follow a series of steps that consist of recalling, assessing, and responding to the information we ingest 😛 TAGEND
Source: Matthew Edward Dyson
All three of those steps are imperative to active listening. Numerous surveys have discovered how listening triggers a widespread network of activity throughout the entire brain — and itas why auditory stimuli is often strongly linked to memory.
When We Don’t Listen
Of course, we have to be paying attention in order to be able to recall, evaluate, and respond to what person tells us. And even if we are, how we react can send a variety of signals back to our conversational equivalent. Statements like, aI assure, a or, aCool, a for example, arenat precisely active phrases. Instead, they exhibit a nation of passive listening that communicates we hear the person, but likely donat care.
And thatas not how anyone — let alone important people in their own lives, like your family or your boss — wants to be treated. Even if your significant other is telling you about his day, reacting with something like, aMm-hmma doesnat precisely send the message that you have great concern for whatas being said.
And even then, our intents might be good. According to a coaching presentation created by Viorica Milea, there are many non-malicious explains behind why we donat listen. These are things like distractions, which abound in todayas device-centric world, and our tendency to start guessing ahead while the person is still talking — what Milea calls “judging, ” which happens when we’ve preemptively “made assumptions” about what the person is going to say.
The Mutual Benefit of Active Listening
Thatas why active listening is good for both parties in a dialogue. It benefits the person speaking by helping to insure that sheas actually being heard. But it also benefits the listener — learning to set distractions and preemptive judgments( well-intended or not) aside will not only prevent you from missing important details, but also, can help teach you how to tune out unnecessary interruptions while focusing on other important tasks.
Practicing the incorporation of these phrases into conversations is a great way to get started. When someone is speaking to you, keep these in mind — if you feel your attention start to drift, or a notification appears on your telephone, or you begin guessing ahead, come back to your mental inventory of these phrases to demonstrate and execute active listening.
6 Phrase to Demonstrate Active Listening
1) aDo you mean a |? a
Sometimes, it seems like life is one long game of Telephone. Even if we interpreted something one style, members of the public who said it may have meant it completely differently.
Thatas why itas important to make sure youare getting the full story from the person youare listening to, and understanding it correctly. By asking for clarification, youare not only encouraging more details from someone who might be timid about bringing something up, but also, youare attaining sure you actually heard a statement as it was intended.
aIam not sure I understand.a aCould you tell me a bit more about that? a aWhat Iam hearing is a | ” aYou seem a bit a | a aWhen? a aHow? a aYouare kidding.a aThese are the main points Iave heard you stimulate so far.a aLetas make sure Iam hearing you correctly.a aLetas pause to make sure weare on the same page.a