Did you know that an average person only uses 1/4 of their listening capacity?
What do we do then with the ¾ of our capacity, you’re asking?
Well, instead of listening, we tend to:
- Think about what we are going to say next
- Create our own opinion on what the speaker is saying
- Think about something totally different
What are the benefits of active listening?
First of all, active listening builds trust and respect. It helps you build relationships with people because you demonstrate empathy and interest.
What’s more, your conversations will be more engaging and you will come across as an interesting person. Yes, that’s right. This is a little psychological trick. When you show interest in others, they will think YOU are the interesting one.
Finally, active listening helps you really understand others. Oftentimes, we assume that we understand what the other person is saying but because we haven’t been paying enough attention to their words, we don’t.
So, how can we become better listeners?
1) Adjust your body language.
Nod your head, lean forward, maintain eye contact, and smile.
2) Use words to show attention and agreement.
Really?…That’s interesting…You don’t say…Wow…Right…Sure.
3) Repeat what they’ve said in a different way.
So what I’ve heard is______.
I’m hearing that_______. Is that right?
Am I hearing that_______?
4) Ask follow-up questions. If your partner says they went to the hospital, ask them if they are okay. If they say they watched a movie, ask them what movie they watched.
5) If you cannot come up with any follow-up questions, use the parroting technique. Pick a word that caught your attention and repeat it back to your partner.
I went to Malaysia 3 years ago. Malaysia?
Do you consider yourself to be a good listener? What techniques do you use to demonstrate your active listening?