I am a huge proponent of the power of communication. Effective communication can make nearly every phase of your life better.
Strong communication skills will help you succeed in business and will positively impact your personal relationships. On the other hand, poor communication can lead to a wide variety of challenges in all of your relationships. It’s a skill that can have a profound influence on nearly every phase of your life.
While you might not immediately think of listening as a key component to communication, it really is. Half of all communication is listening.
To be a really good communicator, you have to learn how to truly listen. I can show you how. Follow along to find out how to practice active listening, I will share with you a step by step guide.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
What Is Active Listening?
Let’s start with a definition of active listening.
Active listening, like you might guess, means that you are actively listening to the person that is speaking. It means really paying attention to the person as they are talking to you. This is different that the passive hearing that is done in many conversations.
Active listening involves using many of your senses to listen to the person. It also means giving the person your full attention. You need to show the other person that you are truly listening to them, your body language will convey this to the person that is talking to you.
Think of it as your ears truly hearing, your brain thoroughly processing, and the rest of your body showing that you are fully present in the moment and engaged on what is being said. This is a good way to visualize active listening.
The Importance of Active Listening
Before we dive into the nuts and bolts of how to practice active listening, let’s first look at why active listening is important.
If you agree that being a good communicator will have great benefits in all of your relationships, then you most likely agree that listening is an important part of communication. And it is.
Here’s a few reasons why it’s well worth practicing active listening whenever possible:
Builds Mutual Trust
When someone sees that you are actively listening, they immediately think that you care about what they are saying. It’s well known that most of us gain great satisfaction from being understood. It’s one of those things that just makes us feel good.
When you are showing someone that you are very interested in what they are saying, they can’t help but feel like you are seeking to understand them. This in turn greatly affects how much they feel they can trust you.
Boost Self Confidence
People who are good at active listening tend to have higher self esteem and a higher self image. This is because they are skilled at working towards establishing and building strong, positive relationships.
People who do this on a regular basis tend to feel confident in their abilities.
Fewer Mistakes and Less Miscommunication
As you might imagine, if you are practicing active listening, you actually catch lots of details and nuances you might otherwise miss.
If you are simply waiting for someone to finish speaking so you can open your mouth, you are only paying partial attention. And this is a sure fire way to miss some important points.
When you actively listen to someone, you will catch many details and subtleties you might otherwise miss.
Imagine you are assigned a project. Now imagine the person who assigned you the project clearly articulates the entire project from start to finish. Then imagine that person actively listening to your responses and clarifying any questions you might have.
As you walk out of that meeting, you have a crystal clear picture of what you need to deliver and how you are going to do it. Isn’t that a nice feeling?
Having someone actively listen to you and clearly communicate will make a world of difference in how productive you are in accomplishing that project. You have a clear road map to get to your destination in a successful manner.
Remember one of the greatest satisfactions we all have is feeling understood. This is very relevant here.