What is Active Listening & How You Can Master This Life-Changing Skill

why active listening skills are important?

Effective communication is the key to a successful career and any form of leadership. active listening is one of the best communication skills. Nothing could be more encouraging for someone to feel listened, understand and valued.

It’s quite easy to develop this habit but you first have to consider what is active listening, why you must have this skill and most importantly how you can become a listener that has the power to change lives.

What is Active Listening?

Active listening is a skill to listen actively with all senses. Active listening is a technique that is used in counseling, training, and solving disputes or conflicts. Source

It’s a skill you can develop with a bit of practice and patience.

It needs listener’s full concentration without jumping to any final judgment or conclusion.

Some people are born with innate traits like good speaking and listening but most people lack these qualities. It is worth mentioning that active listening is an acquirable skill, you just have to convert yourself into a good listener.

Active listeners consciously listen, with all interest, making the speaker sure that he is giving valuable information and listeners are willfully listening to his.

ACTIVE LISTENING BENEFITS

HOW LEARNING TO LISTEN CAN CHANGE YOUR LIFE?

Active listening has many benefits that can make every phase of your life much simpler.

Either you have daily life issues, facing workplace or academic problems, all you need is power of active listening.

You’ll be able to manage more easily conflicts, negotiate better, be appreciated by just listening someone and eventually become a charismatic leader.

ACTIVE LISTENING AT WORK

Active listening supports to solve your workplace issues like project management and gives the leadership road map. It helps you increase your productivity and makes you more influential. When you listen to your boss consciously and give your recommendations or ideas, it boosts your credibility and helps in flourishing your career.

ACTIVE LISTENING AT SCHOOL AND COLLEGE

Being a student, active listening helps to figure out matters throughout academic life. It gives a chance to explore more and brainstorm ideas. If you need strong tips and methods to succeed your studies, check this blow-minding articles.

Relationship

No one can underestimate the power of active listening in daily life. It prevents conflicts and misunderstandings. When you wholeheartedly listen to your partner, you get a chance to fix the issues and make a wise decision.

Signs of Active Listening

There are ways active listeners can respond to the speaker:

Verbal

Questioning, summarizing, and giving encouraging remarks show the active interest of the listener towards the speaker. They give feedback and use encouraging words.

Non-Verbal

It is one of the best ways to depict keenness towards what is being said. Active listeners nod with a smile and keep body language flexible without any distracting movements.

How to be an Active Listener?

If you strive to be an active listener and want to develop a habit of conscious listening, then know that it is not a difficult task. You just have to keep practicing and you will be an active listener soon.

Follow these active listening tips and you will quickly realize the benefits of active learning.

give genuine interest to the person

Attention and respect is the key to active listening because when you listen to someone carefully, others will also value your opinion.
Avoid cross-talk while listening and keep distracting things away. Carefully pay attention to what the speaker is discussing and show your prime interest.

Avoid Distractions

Fidgeting, doodling and repeatedly looking at the clock are the common distracting movements most of the listeners do. Some people also play with the hair or pen. You should avoid these nasty movements for concentrated listening.

Spot and avoid Daydreaming

When in a formal meeting or on a discussion table, good listeners are not only physically present but also remain mentally active. They participate in the discussion by asking relevant questions appropriately without interfering with the speaker. So, you should work on it and make sure you are mentally and physically active rather than daydreaming.

Send signals of caring, empathy and tolerance

Keep Your Body Language Friendly

As it is said “body language speaks louder than words” so, keep your body language friendly. Do not sit frustrated even if you are attending an official meeting or you’re a part of a discussion panel. Show that you are listening with all of your senses and are ready to give your input so that you will be considered a well-wisher of the organization.

Try to not cross your arms when listening.

Generally, leaning posture with a hand under the chin is considered an active listening pose. Try to adopt this habit and practice in your daily routine. You will see improvement in your listening power.

Make Eye Contact

The most powerful tool of active listening is to make eye contact with the speaker. Eye contact makes sure that listeners are concentrating without any distractions.

One thing you have to consider while making eye contact is to make soft eye contact rather than staring at the speaker. If you constantly gaze, it will look odd and unnatural. It may also lead to confusion and misguide the speakers.

Don’t be Judgmental

This is certainly the most important aspect of any social activity.

Yes, good listeners do not judge without listening. They listen with all nerves, understand, and get the meaning without rushing to the conclusion. You should also add this habit to your practicing list to be an active listener.

Manage Facial Expressions

Ideally, you want to that the least facial expressions you can. Because even a simple 200ms reaction can send a ‘judgment’ or ‘moral’ message.

Being neutral will keep the person talking as you don’t introduce reactions in his matrix. This is a bit hard to do at the beginning but remember, people mainly talk to be listened, not approved or disapproved. If you struggle staying neutral, you can have small attenuated reactions like polite facile expressions.

Polite facial expressions help the speaker understand that listeners are considering his thoughts worthy and taking an interest. Nodding with a smiley face and gentle eye contact is perfect for showing activeness and attention. Rough and frustrating features will lead to unhealthy discussion.