In almost any situation in life, whether it be personal or professional, There will be times where you will have to listen, and listen actively. Actively listening is different than just listening. Actively listening to someone means you are fully engaged in the what is being said and understanding the points that are being said to you. Active listening is a crucial skill to have in all aspects of life. It’s important to evaluate how you listen to other people and hone your skill of active listening so that you can take in and learn as much as possible from every conversation.
Skills To Develop
Learning to be engaged in listening requires using certain skills. Among these skills includes learning to concentrate on what a person is saying. Other skills that go along with active listening are to be open to different interpretations of topics being discussed. Acknowledge your biases on certain topics and try and understand where another person may be coming from if they express a different opinion. Avoid making assumptions about a situation or a person. Assuming you know what is happening or has happened can lead to a gross misunderstanding and uncomfortable result for everyone involved. Allow time for silence while the other person is talking. It can be tempting to get your two cents in during times of silence but let the other person continue their thought process and elaborate on whatever they are trying to communicate. Allowing time for silence also comes in the form of acknowledging social cues and knowing when the person is done speaking or trying to gather their thoughts.
Another very important skill to develop for active listening is how to respond and respond appropriately. Respect what the other person has said and be honest and open with your response. You want to avoid being aggressive with your response so you do not begin an argument or putting the other person’s opinion down in any way. Defer any sort of negative judgement and you will have a meaningful conversation where everyone involved can learn something of value.
Actively listening can be a handy skill to have. Try and practice developing these skills with your team and see how much you can gain from teaching other listen actively.