3 Rules of Active Listening
Communication is defined as an exchange of information. A means of connecting with others. “Exchange” sends the message that communication requires both talking and listening. In other words, giving and receiving. Good communication is like playing catch. It takes two. If I throw the ball to you and you don’t return it, the game doesn’t work. Likewise, if I catch the ball and set it down we’re not playing catch. It’s a lot more fun to throw the ball back and forth. A great conversation works the same way. A good communicator doesn’t just give information away. A good communicator receives information. The receiving part is called active listening. Our ability (or inability) to communicate affects every facet of our life. It directly affects our relationships whether at home or at work.
3 Rules of Active Listening
#1 Be Attentive
When you’re actively listening be present. It is important to clear your mind of distractions, schedules, and earlier events from the day. Listen rather than plan your response. Resist the urge to plan what you’re gonna say next. There’s no need for an immediate response.
Our body language is another factor in being attentive. Turn toward the person speaking. Face them while maintaining good eye contact. Occasionally nodding lets them know you hear what their saying.
#2 Be Respectful
First, stop what you’re doing. In this day and age, cell phones are generally within arm’s reach. It’s easy to think we can multitask. Active listening and multitasking do not work well together. Communication is a means of connecting. The most powerful means of connecting with the people is through effective communication. The opportunity to connect face-to-face with someone you love is not to be taken for granted.
Don’t interrupt. Wait patiently for the other person to finish. Talking over someone is another kind of interruption. Communication can instantly be shut down. Both parties miss out on the opportunity to connect.
#3 Be Inquiring
Ask questions! I feel completely heard when I’m being asked more about what I’m saying. Ask clarifying questions. These are questions that draw out more information. This demonstrates listening and interest in the conversation. Paraphrase what you heard. This is restating what you heard in your own words. Clarifying and paraphrasing are wonderful traits of active listening.
This is a lot to remember. Pick a couple skills and practice. Everyone starts somewhere. Investing in deeper connection with the ones you love is worth all the effort. Relationship is one of our biggest blessings and most valuable assets. The ability to actively listen causes others to seek you out. Ultimately the ones you love will walk away feeling loved well.
Relationships are our biggest blessings and most valuable assets.
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