Active Listening Video
Learn how to hear the whole message by using active listening techniques.
Think about how much information you get every day from listening. Your boss, your colleagues, your clients, and your suppliers may communicate with you often. So will your family and friends.
How much of what all these people say do you pay attention to? How much are you actually remembering from these conversations? Chances are, it's a lot less than you think!
A lot of times, we act as if we're listening to the other person. But the reality is that our minds are racing to other topics, or already planning what we're going to say in return. This means that we can miss important things that the other person is saying.
Active listening is when you make a conscious effort to hear and understand people so that you get the complete message.
There are several things you can do to become an active listener. First, you need to pay attention. We know this is a bit obvious, but it's the most important part of active listening. For instance, make eye contact with the person talking to you. Ignore outside factors, like other conversations, so that you can focus solely on what the person is saying.
Most importantly, put your own thoughts on hold. Resist the urge to start planning out what you're going to say in return.
You also need to show the other person that you're listening to them. You can nod your head, smile, and say "yes" occasionally. All of these signals let the other person know you're still with them.
Providing feedback on what the other person has just said is another important part of active listening. For instance, all of us hear information through our own personal filters and judgments. This can affect our understanding. To make sure you heard and understood the message correctly, paraphrase it or repeat it back to the person. You can also ask questions to get more information.
But make sure that you listen to what they're saying before you plan your response!
You also need to avoid interrupting when they are speaking. Once they're finished, you can respond appropriately with an honest answer or opinion.
Active listening is a skill that all of us should use more often. The better you are at listening, the more information you'll receive. This can pay off with big rewards in your career, and strengthen your bonds with family and friends.
You can find out more about active listening in the article that accompanies this video.