We are wired to be problem-solvers and fixers, but sometimes, it’s important to take a step back and focus on listening to those around us, despite our need to jump into the role of problem solver.
Active listening is about asking questions and offering complete presence to the one who is talking. What are they saying? How are they feeling? What are you noticing in their body language? How are you reflecting back what you are hearing them saying? Do they agree that what you’re hearing is actually what they are saying?
When you offer a kind space to listen, others feel heard.
According to the Gift of Life Institute, “Active listening includes responses that demonstrate that you understand what the other person is trying to tell you about his or her experience. This is a communication technique that’s very different from the passive or unfocused listening that is often adopted in everyday conversation. When you accurately reflect back to a person what’s been said, you show that you’ve been listening—not just hearing—and that you genuinely understand the feelings or messages they are trying to convey. This creates an environment that allows the speaker to go deeper, and sometimes even to come to new realizations. It’s the basis for trust and respect.”
Active listening conveys the deepest communication possible to others; a kindness that heals the parts of us that want to be known and loved unconditionally.
As we head into a new week, take these tips on how to be an active listener:
- Look at the person who is speaking.
- Concentrate on what is being said.
- Respond by nodding or answering questions.
- Ask questions if you do not understand or need more information.
- Drop all other distractions (including your cell phone, TV, etc.).