A few weeks ago, I had an alarming revelation: I'm a terrible listener. This came to a head when someone I cared about pointed out that I don't seem to have an interest in what they do for a living. "Your eyes glaze over when I talk about my work," he told me. I couldn't deny it. And it wasn't limited to him - whenever someone spoke to me about something I found less than fascinating, I tended to brush it off. In fact, for example, I could learn to appreciate my friend's work if he learned to listen actively. It's a must-have skill—at work and in your personal life. After all, if you never pay attention to what your boss, loved one or children say to you, how can they take you seriously? How can you expect them to come to you with important advice or information? If you don't listen, you'll set the precedent that you can't be trusted to accept what's important to other people.
A few weeks ago, I had an alarming revelation: I'm a terrible listener.
This came to a head when someone I cared about pointed out that I don't seem to have an interest in what they do for a living. "Your eyes glaze over when I talk about my work," he told me.
I couldn't deny it. And it wasn't limited to him - whenever someone spoke to me about something I found less than fascinating, I tended to brush it off. In fact, for example, I could learn to appreciate my friend's work if he learned to listen actively.
It's a must-have skill—at work and in your personal life. After all, if you never pay attention to what your boss, loved one or children say to you, how can they take you seriously? How can you expect them to come to you with important advice or information? If you don't listen, you'll set the precedent that you can't be trusted to accept what's important to other people.
That's why it's important to learn to listenactive🇧🇷 It's one thing to sit down and make eye contact with the person you're talking to. But do you really accept what they say? Also, are you responding in a way that conveys that you're really listening - and that you have something of value to say in return?
There are a few key phrases that show you're actively listening. And it's true - you won't mind every conversation someone starts with you. But even if the topic isn't important to you, the person sharing it might be. Keep reading to learn how you can be more caring and show that you are.
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What is active listening?
Active listening is a form of communication that requires participants to fully focus on, understand and respond to what is being said. It can be used at home and in the workplace and is widely used in management training, human resource development and mediation.
To fully understand how to be an active listener, let's take a look at how we listen biologically.
the listening process
listen laterMerriam Webster, is “listening to what someone has said and understanding that it is serious, important or true”.
It's this second part of the definition that strikes me - especially when it comes to active listening. It's the true record of what someone tells us that validates and communicates how seriously we take it or how important it is.
Of course, there are many reasons to listen. It helps us satisfy differentphysiological goals🇧🇷 We listen to change our mood, stay alert and find out what's going on – humans have been doing this for a long time.since we exist🇧🇷 That oneprocessbegins when we receive auditory stimuli. So our brain has to interpret this stimulus. This is reinforced by other senses - such as vision - which help us to better interpret what we hear. This is important. When someone shares information with us, our non-verbal response also tells that person how actively we are listening.
After receiving and interpreting the acoustic signals, we follow a series of steps that consist of remembering, evaluating and responding to the information we capture:
Those ones: Matthew Edward Dyson
All three of these steps are essential to active listening.numerous studiesdiscovered how listening triggers a broad network of activity across the brain - and therefore auditory stimuli are often strongly linked to memory.
if we don't listen
Of course, we need to pay attention to remember, evaluate, and respond to what someone else is saying to us. And even if it's ushowOur response can send a variety of signals back to our caller. For example, statements like "I see" or "Cool" aren't exactly active sentences. Instead, they show a state of passive listening, which tells us that we hear the person but probably don't care.
And that's not how anyone — let alone important people in your life, like your family or your boss — wants to be treated. Even if your significant other is telling you about his day, a response of something like "Mm-hmm" doesn't exactly send a message that you're very concerned about what he said.
And even then, our intentions can be good. According to a coaching presentation created byViorika Milea, there are many non-malicious explanations for why we don't hear. It's things like distractions, which abound in today's device-centric world, and our tendency to think ahead while the person is still talking - what Milea calls "judging" what's going on when we preemptively make "guesses" about what's going on. the person will. to say.
The mutual benefits of active listening
Therefore, active listening is good for both speakers. This benefits the speaker by ensuring they are truly heard. But it also benefits the listener - learning to let go of distractions and pre-emptive judgments (well-meaning or otherwise) will not only keep you from missing important details, it will also help you block out unnecessary interruptions while you focus on other important tasks. 🇧🇷
Practicing incorporating these phrases into conversations is a good place to start. When someone is talking to you, keep this in mind - if you feel your attention wander, a notification pops up on your phone, or you start thinking about the future, go back to your mental inventory of those phrases to demonstrate and actively execute them.
6 phrases to demonstrate active listening
1) "You mean...?"
Sometimes life feels like one long phone game. Even if we interpret something that way, it's possible that the person who said it had a very different intention.
That's why it's important to hear the whole story of the person listening and understand it correctly. By asking for clarification, you not only encourage someone who might be shy to mention something, but you also ensure that you actually heard a statement as it was intended.
- "I'm not sure I understand."
- "Can you tell me a little more about that?"
2) "It seems that..."
This phrase is another one that helps clarify by demonstrating your empathy. But be careful with this and make sure you don't tell the other person how they feel, but rather how you interpret their feelings.
I have a hard time admitting when I'm upset about something, especially in a professional setting. But my manager excels at active listening and is very good at reading what I amNotsay in a conversation - and respond in kind. For example, if I was disappointed with the outcome of a project, I wouldn't say so openly, but she would say, "Sounds like you're feeling a little low." helped me proactively move the project forward.
- "What I hear is..."
- "You seem a little..."
This phrase helps Milea demonstrate encouragement during a conversation. This reminds the speaker that you are paying attention, encouraging him to explain something he said to you.
- "You are kidding."
4) "I realized that..."
Here's another term that shows how much attention you're paying. By noting your observations about a person's behavior or tendencies as they speak, not only do you fully absorb their words, but you also take non-verbal communication into account.
Instructor atUniversity of Central FloridaUse example: “I just noticed that when you talk about your conclusions, you smile. That leads me to believe you are happy with the direction.” Making sure you know what someone means is not limited to the spoken word – you also want to clarify what non-verbal behavior might indicate.
5) "Let me make sure I'm doing this right."
Another active listening method is to follow up with the other person to summarize what you've heard so far. By repeating something back to the person you are listening to, not only are you showing that you were paying attention, but you are also ensuring that you understood what the person really meant and that you understood them correctly.
- "Those are the main points I've heard from you so far."
- "Let's make sure I understand you correctly."
- "Let's take a break to make sure we're on the same page."
6) "I'm sorry. This really sucks.
I often joke about it with my colleagues. This goes back to the big idea of empathy and those times when you want to have a pity party for a moment instead of proactive advice. Of course, you'll be ready for this advice at some point, but not right away.
So when someone is sharing their frustrations with you, one of the most powerful things you can do is verbally acknowledge how bad the situation is. Rather than defusing the person's emotions by immediately suggesting what they should do, pause to empathize and allow the person to process what is bothering them.
- "I'm so sorry you're going through this."
- "What a shitty situation to be in. I'm sorry."
- "This is difficult. How can I help?"
We understand. You have enough on your plate. There's always a deadline and there's always a place you need to be. It can be difficult to really pay attention, especially when you have a long to-do list that is draining your mental energy.
But as we mentioned earlier, active listening doesn't just benefit the person you're talking to - it can benefit you too. From making sure you don't miss important details to focusing on important tasks, putting these phrases into practice can help you become a proactive and empathetic listener.