Active listening is an essential communication tool, and it can be learned through practice. In relationships, active listening is important because it lets your partner know that you hear and understand them. When active listening is utilized consistently, your partner will feel understood and that their feelings and concerns have been effectively addressed. Super boiled down, active listening requires two main actions: reflection and validation. If you want more specifics, below are quick steps you can practice to build your active listening skills.
Here are some quick tips to becoming an active listener:
1) Pay attention and put away distractions (i.e., turn the phone over, turn off the TV)
2) Be engaged and show that you are listening through your body language
3) Reflect and summarize what you heard
4) Do not interrupt
5) Ask appropriate questions and respond kindly
Effective communication can be tough, and you can experience some road bumps along the way. There are several “bumps” that can build up barriers and make active listening difficult to accomplish:
– Being dismissive by saying things like ‘you should not feel that way’ or ‘do not worry about it’ or ‘but that wasn’t my intention’
– Giving advice when the speaker did not ask for it
– Not physically being engaged (i.e., no eye contact, being turned away)
If you are feeling like you are struggling with communication and would like skills to have in your tool belt, please give me a call and I would love to help!