Active listening Skills
Do you find yourself misunderstanding what your spouse or work colleague say to you?
Do you find yourself questioning your responses to them?
Most people hear others speaking to them, but most of the time our interactions are not focused and we may listen to people speak, without truly hearing what they want to say to us.
Learning how to listen is a skill that helps us to clear our mind of thoughts and behaviors that may interrupt our ability to hear what the other person is trying to say, rather than what we think they are saying.
- Learning how to listen to people around us is also a journey of self-discovery. Instead of responding to peoples comments and thoughts as a reaction, we take the time to understand what they are saying and in thinking about how their words are impacting us, we are identifying the natural way react to peoples words and think about how we would prefer to react to them.
We can then develop and practice self-control techniques, to assist us to respond more appropriately to anything people may say to us.
|The Importance of Active Listening|
You may have heard active listening referred to as reflective listening. It involves listening to others around us talk to us and taking time out to ensure we understand their words and the meanings behind those words. We ask questions like so you mean this; to reflect back to the person what we think they said. We use words like I feel angry when you say that rather than lashing out in anger and using a you phrase like you always do this.
Our focus is not on the words spoken but on the person speaking and what they meant by their words. This way of listening can take some getting used to, but once we learn this skill will change the way we relate to people and interact with them, and learn about ourselves in the process.
If you sometimes feel misunderstood when you are talking to people, you probably have an understanding of the importance of really being heard and not just listened to.
As we begin to practice active listening, you will soon learn the phrases and body languages that you personally find difficult to deal with. You will develop important techniques and qualities that enable you to remain in control of your thoughts and emotions when having discussions with others.
ACTIVE LISTENING SKILLS YOU MUST LEARN
- Refraining from passing judgment.
Most times we tend to loose concentration when talking to someone, especially if we have a counter opinion as to what is being said.
Setting a comfortable tone that allows your coachee to think and talk is one purpose of active listening and being an effective listener. Before replying, give yourself some “wait time.” Coachees should not be interrupted, their sentences should be completed, and you should not begin formulating your response before they have finished. When practicing active listening, pay attention to your body language as well as your mood. Focus on the present moment, maintain eye contact, and approach the listener with respect.
Refraining from passing judgment.
We are wired as humans to be jugdemental, thats our nature, however, this nature is not good for effective communication.
An open mind is required for active listening. I advice people that, When practicing active listening, be open to new ideas, new views, and new possibilities as a listener and as a leader. Even when they have strong opinions, effective listeners defer judgment, keep any critiques to themselves, and avoid disruptions such as arguing or selling their argument right away. Avoid the emotional trigger to pass jugdement unduely.
Assumption is the lowest level of understanding, dont ever assume you understand what the speaker is saying, there is need for a reflection and a deep thought.
When you’re the listener, don’t assume you’ve correctly understood your coachee — or that they’re aware you’ve heard them. Mirror your coachee’s information and emotions by paraphrasing key points on a regular basis. Reflecting is a type of active listening that indicates that you and your counterpart are on the same page.
“Emma is so loyal and supportive of her people — they’d walk through fire for her,” your coachee might say. But no matter how hard I try, her team continues to miss deadlines.”
To paraphrase, “Emma’s people skills are excellent, but accountability is a problem.”
If you hear someone say, “I don’t know what else to do!” or “I’m tired of bailing out the team at the last minute,” try assisting your coachee in labeling.
When engaged in active listening, you need clarity of information. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about any subject that is uncertain or unclear. If you’re the listener and you’re unsure about what your coachee has said, say something like, “Let me see if I’m clear.” “Are you referring to…?” “Wait a minute,” or “Wait a minute.” “I didn’t pay attention to you.”
Open-ended, clarifying, and probing questions are effective active listening methods because they enable the coachee to focus on self-reflection and problem resolution rather than explaining or defending a viewpoint or guessing the “correct answer.” This leads me to the next one, similar to this
Please provide feedback.
What we hear can be distorted by our personal filters, assumptions, judgments, and beliefs. It is your responsibility as a listener to comprehend what is being said. This may necessitate you thinking about what is being said and asking questions.
By paraphrasing, you can reflect on what has been said. “What I’m hearing is…,” and “Sounds like you’re saying…,” are two excellent ways to respond.
To clarify some points, ask questions. “Can you explain what you mean when you say…?” “Is this what you’re getting at?”
Summarize the speaker’s remarks on a regular basis.
Share your thoughts and Opinions, after maximizing the time to listen and gain clarity on the topic of discussion, the next important thing to do is to air your view.
Understanding the other person comes first, followed by understanding yourself as a listener. You can begin to offer your own ideas, opinions, and suggestions as you develop a better grasp of the other person’s point of view. You might relate a comparable experience you’ve had or share an idea that was sparked by a prior comment in the conversation.
After you and your coachee have spoken through the scenario in this fashion, you and your coachee will have a decent idea of where things stand. The discourse can then move to problem-solving mode: What haven’t you tried yet? What do we know that we don’t? What fresh techniques are possible?
You’re free to continue to question, provide leading, and make appropriate provision as the coach, but don’t impose a solution.