How many times have you happened to feel like you weren’t fully heard while talking to someone? We believe that your answer is "a lot".
Today, many times we find ourselves in a situation where we feel as if our interlocutor has not heard us. That is why the skill of active listening is very important in the 21st century, and each of us should take the time to improve this skill. That's why we decided to share with you a few steps you can take to improve your active listening skills because if you want to change, start with yourself.
Decide for yourself to listen - when you bring yourself to listen to someone, you will immediately have the motivation to listen. Make yourself do what you are told, and the intention itself will already improve your active listening, "where there is a will, there is a way." Look your interlocutor in the eye, if your gaze wanders you can send a message that you are not interested in what the interlocutor is telling you. It would be a good idea to include non-verbal cues such as nodding your head or giving occasional comments (make sure the comments are in line with the topic you are talking about). Also by gesturing shows that you are open to communication.
Focus your attention on the conversation - try to focus all your attention on the conversation, which means that we don't do anything else during the conversation (we don't use the phone or watch TV) because we can't actively listen and at the same time pay attention to something else. If you find yourself in a situation where the other person in the conversation with you is using the phone, know that that person is selectively listening to you, ask her to leave the phone nicely and concentrate on the conversation you are having. If you are the one who does not actively listen to the interlocutor, what is certain is that the interlocutor will receive a message that you did not pay attention to him.
Get involved in the conversation but do not interrupt - if something is not clear to you, you should ask a question, to paraphrase what creates confusion and dilemma. It often happens in conversation that while listening to someone we plan in advance what we are going to say. This is not a good way of active listening because automatically on an intrapsychic level we have a conversation with ourselves and thus we cannot fully hear what the other person is telling us. It is very important that you do not interrupt the interlocutor while he is talking (unless it is really necessary)!
Stick to the topic of conversation - if you want to actively listen to your interlocutor, stick to the topic he is talking about. The team will keep you informed, you will be able to ask questions related to the topic and thus you will show that you care about what you are talking about and you will show respect to your interlocutor. Each of us likes to receive respect from the other person, which is why you treat the other person the way you would like others to treat you.
Compassion is important, but control your emotions and attitudes - always try to empathize with your interlocutor. This means recognizing the needs and understanding of your interlocutor. Always keep in mind that sometimes a person just wants someone to listen to them, then it would be advisable to refrain from advice and comments as this can make the situation worse at that point.
Paraphrasing and summarizing - paraphrasing is one of the techniques of active listening, it serves us to check whether we understand our interlocutor and the message he wanted to convey to us. A lot of times it happens that people hear what we say but don’t understand. In such cases, there may be a situation where each side starts to defend its position, so paraphrasing is very good (below you can find examples of paraphrasing).
Summarizing is similar to when we learn and separate important from irrelevant material, as is the case here. It is important to extract essential information from the conversation to understand the interlocutor.
Examples of paraphrasing
Would you repeat what you said
What do you mean....
If I understand you well ...
Did you mean this
And a lot of others!
"Listening to someone means exercising the right to be listened to"!